Berlin Model Basin (Versuchsanstalt für Wasserbau) is a building attached to a colossal pipe; the ideal home for ship hydrodynamics, applied hydromechanics and ocean, environmental and navigational engineering tests.
Just the opposite to any conventional building process, where space is first conceived and piping is somehow added.Here, the Pipe is the Space.
A facility providing a cavitation tunnel (to test the formation of gas bubbles of a flowing liquid in a region where the pressure of the liquid falls below its vapor pressure) by means of scaled replicas of actual ships. It also houses the deep and shallow water basins, each 120 metres long, where waves are intentionally provoked at a certain frequency, height and amplitude. Every ocean of the world can be reproduced inside it.
The movement of water is eventually what generated a whole construction, its dimensions and its functions. And inside this 1976 fluid house, it is also where mock-up bionic penguins are tested in their swimming technique, so that engineering can learn again from nature. By injecting colour ink in the wings of the robot, researchers can visualize their undulation parameters.
Ships learn from animals and buildings are taught by the water. But Berlin decided in 2004 that after 100 years, they did not need this infrastructure anymore; still trying to overcome a sudden disappearance, the building is prolonging a chronicle of a death foretold. Let’s see what the future learns from it.
[1-7> Berlin Model Basin VWB complex by deconcrete2011][8> Bionic penguin studies by Ingo Rechenberg via Bionik TU Berlin]
The building was designed by Ludwig Leo.