The Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961, nearly 16 years after the fall of the Nazi regime. It was constructed as a barrier between Soviet-occupied East Berlin, and the former territories of USA, Great Britain, and France, which made up West Berlin. Immigration from East Berlin to West Berlin had grown exponentially in the years leading up to the construction of the wall, although the official title of the wall was “Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart.” Construction occurred nearly overnight, cutting off the border between East and West Berlin in such a swift, aggressive way that entire neighborhoods and once bustling thoroughfares were abruptly stifled.
It is this closure of path that interests me. The idea that what was once a way to travel through a space could so quickly change to a barrier must have completely changed the way that space was used. An intersection may become a dead-end, or a piazza may become a narrow alley. It was not merely a single obstacle blocking a path, but an entirely new edge, redefining the boundary of an entire city.
I created a few sketches to illustrate my idea of this closure of path, and converted those sketches into a paper cut-out model. I depicted a series of doorways shown in a perspective view, continuing into the distance. These doorways have a mirror-image counterpart directly in front of them to suggest moving through these double entryways into another space, or the same space. However, these mirrored doorways are separated by a large, blank wall that runs between them along the entire length of the rows of doorways. Not only does this wall obstruct the movement through one doorway and into the next, but it creates an entirely new path in the interstitial space between these doorways. This same effect must have occurred when the Berlin Wall itself was constructed. It closed paths between doorways and forced users to use the route along the wall, or turn back in the direction from which they came. No forward movement was possible.