Norwich University’s Award-Winning Solar House Earns Recognition in Regional EPA Earth Day Awards

Norwich University Office of Communications

Updated May 1, 2015

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – A team of Norwich University students was recognized by the New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at this year’s Earth Day ceremony in Boston with a 2015 Environmental Merit Award.

The four alumni and two professors present to receive the award helped design and build Norwich’s Delta T-90, the 2013 solar house that won the affordability category at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in Irvine, Calif.

The team’s latest accolade from the EPA was bestowed in “recognition of exceptional work and commitment to the environment” at a special ceremony held at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Mass., on Wednesday, April 22, 2015.

The annual Earth Day ceremony has recognized the environmental achievements of New Englanders for more than three decades.

“Our students tasked themselves with addressing a real and immediate problem in their community—providing a compelling housing solution that is both affordable and sustainable,” said Aron Temkin, an architect, professor and dean of the College of Professional Schools at Norwich University. “We are very pleased to see them recognized this way, because it reinforces the viability and impact of their work.”

Temkin adds that it also speaks to the impact of the “Norwich educational experience of a cross disciplinary collaboration of designer, engineer and constructor that they will be practicing throughout their careers.”

Today’s EPA merit award is the latest in a string of awards and honors the Delta T-90 solar house has garnered since its inception.

More than a year after successfully competing in the 2013 Solar Decathlon, Norwich University’s Delta T-90 House won the Vermont Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIAVT) 2014 People’s Choice Award.

The Delta T-90 House models how high performance solar-powered dwellings can be made affordably. At the 2013 US Solar Decathlon event in California, the home earned first-place awards for affordability and energy balance. The team also earned the Byron Stafford Award of Distinction for their character and sportsmanship.

Since the competition’s close, the Delta T-90 house has delivered on its mission to educate the public about residential-scale renewable energy and green-design by becoming part of the Westcott Center for Architecture and Design in Springfield, Ohio. The center boasts a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed prairie-style house and seeks to involve and promote architecture and design practices as a medium for educating K-12 students in social studies, math, science, and the arts.

Since moving to Springfield, the Delta T-90 house has graced the cover of Green Energy Ohio magazine and been the subject of many articles. The house has also helped the Westcott Center earn grants from the Ohio Arts Council and the Institute of Museum and Library Services by evidencing strong public outreach capabilities.

Through features like its integrated, digital energy-monitoring dashboard, the Delta T-90 house shows students real-time, measurable evidence of the value of design thinking. It does this by comparing real-time energy use to real-time energy production by the Delta T-90’s 5.84KW solar panel system.

Norwich University Associate Professor Matt Lutz, the faculty leader of the Delta T-90 project, praised the Wescott partnership and the role the Norwich solar house plays today to serve the nonprofit’s central mission.

“The Norwich team couldn’t be more proud of the partnership that the Delta T-90 has helped form with the Westcott Center for Architecture and Design. There, the house is really doing what we intended it to do, to become a living laboratory that will educate the public for years.”

Students and faculty in Norwich University’s College of Professional Schools have now embarked on a plan to design sustainable, micro-houses for low-income Vermonters. Read about the project here.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Service” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
(802) 485-2886; 595-3613
dlarkin@norwich.edu

Norwich Partners With (ISC)² to Bridge Cybersecurity Workforce Gap

New initiative supports cybersecurity students and professionals through education and certification
By Daphne Larkin | Office of Communications

January 21, 2015

NORTHFIELD, Vt.–Norwich University officials announced an agreement with (ISC)²®, the largest not-for-profit membership body of certified information and software security professionals with nearly 100,000 members worldwide, to become a new member of the (ISC)2 Global Academic Program (GAP).

Through the agreement, (ISC)2 will provide Norwich students and professionals with the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills, and industry certification they need to enter the high-demand, high-paying cybersecurity workforce. This collaborative initiative is an important part of the GAP’s aim to establish a joint framework for industry-academic cooperation to bridge the workforce gap between the increasing demand for qualified cybersecurity professionals and the amount of skilled professionals entering the industry.

Cyber Leadership

Instituted in 1999, Norwich University’s undergraduate computer security and information assurance program was among the first in 2001 to be designated a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency. Norwich was also among the first schools to carry the designation as a pilot university of the Center of Digital Forensic Academic Excellence (CDFAE) in order to establish industry standards for digital forensic education, making it one of the top cyber forensics programs in the nation. Norwich offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Security and Information Assurance (BSCSIA) with concentrations in cyber forensics and advanced information assurance. In February 2014, this program was rated the number two cyber security academic program in the United States by the Ponemon Institute, who surveyed nearly 2,000 certified information security professionals rating 403 colleges and universities throughout the United States.

“Recognized as the global leader in gold standard information security certification and education, (ISC)2 has developed and continually refined the (ISC)2 common body of knowledge (CBK®) over the last 25 years to reflect the evolving threat landscape and accepted standards of practice for this burgeoning industry,” said Dr. Jo Portillo, manager, Global Academic Program, (ISC)². “This agreement with Norwich University will allow us to advance our vision to inspire a safe and secure cyber world by incorporating our CBK directly into the global academic community.”

“It makes sense that Norwich, as one of the premier institutions teaching cybersecurity and forensics in the Nation, would team up with (ISC)², the global leader in certification to deliver both training and education, especially in the area of cyber forensics,” said Dr. Peter Stephenson, CCFP, CISSP, director of the University’s Center for Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Service” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu

About (ISC)²

Formed in 1989, (ISC)² is the largest not-for-profit membership body of certified information and software security professionals worldwide, with more than 100,000 members in more than 160 countries. Globally recognized as the Gold Standard, (ISC)² issues the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and related concentrations, as well as the Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP), the Certified Cyber Forensics Professional (CCFPSM), Certified Authorization Professional (CAP), HealthCare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner (HCISPPSM), and Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) credentials to qualifying candidates. (ISC)²’s certifications are among the first information technology credentials to meet the stringent requirements of ISO/IEC Standard 17024, a global benchmark for assessing and certifying personnel. (ISC)² also offers education programs and services based on its CBK®, a compendium of information and software security topics. More information is available at www.isc2.org.

A Lifetime of Mentoring From Colin Powel Comes Full Circle

School of Nursing Director Sharon Richie, PhD, describes her long-running professional relationship with retired four-star Army general Colin Powell
By Sharon Richie, PhD | School of Nursing Director
College of Professional Schools

December 18, 2014

I first met Gen. Colin Powell in1980 when he was a major general and I a newly minted Army Nurse Corps major. I was at my first “ROCKS” meeting in Washington, DC, a support organization for field grade officers “of color” that had about 200 male members. At the time, I was the third woman selected to the group. At a reception following the meeting, Gen. Powell introduced himself, saying that I now had 200 brothers to look after me during my career and to call upon him at any time. Later, at our monthly meetings, he always checked on how I was doing, asking “So what is your next step?”

[pullquote cite=”Sharon Richie, PhD” type=”right”]The lessons learned from my general stood the test of time and were still being passed on to our next generation of leaders. I thank Gen. Powel today as much as I did in 1980.[/pullquote]

Over the years, Gen. Powell kept asking the same question and was thrilled when I decided to apply for the White House Fellows (WHF) program in1982. The non-partisan program is open to all, regardless of party affiliation. Gen. Powell had been a White House Fellow himself in1972 and valued his time and experience. Years after that assignment, Gen. Powell served as chief of staff for Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger. When my WHF class visited that office, my “ROCKS” brother—Gen. Powell—gave me an encouraging wink, which spoke volumes: I was not alone. We also saw each other every year at the “ROCKS” scholarship ball at Andrews Air Force base. I still treasure the photo taken in1989 of him, myself and my former husband Paul Patrick Henri.

Leadership Lessons

In 2009 I was honored to be included in Charles Garcia’s book Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows (WHF). Garcia had interviewed over 220 WHF’s, and I was quoted along side Gen. Powell in Chapter 6, which was entitled, “Leaders have a Laser-Like Focus on their People”. Gen. Powell’s section included a story that exemplified “the sort of transformative impact that leadership can have.” My section gave examples of how I used those lessons as the chief nurse of various Army Medical Centers. The irony is that I learned my leadership lessons from my WHF mentor and from a general who kept up with a junior officer her entire career and beyond. I also was fortunate to be able to see Gen. Powell at the annual WHF seminars, which updated all WHF’s on the current administration’s work.

When selected for promotion to colonel, I asked then US Secretary of State Powell to do the honors. He said yes immediately but stipulated that the ceremony had to be held in Washington, given his schedule. I explained that I was funding all of my brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins to attend the ceremony and that I could not afford to house them in DC. At the time, I was a student at the Army War College in Carlise Barracks, Penn., where I could afford to rent out a local motel for all my relatives. Given that this might be my last promotion, Secretary Powell suggested a mutual friend, a general officer who would thoughtfully review my entire career for my family at the ceremony. I thought, how sensitive of him to suggest this, and he was right. My family finally found out what I had been doing all of those years on active duty.

After 26 years of active duty, I served three years in the United Arab Emirates helping to upgrade their military healthcare system. Upon my return, I interviewed active duty Army nurses, who had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Those interviews later turned into a book entitled Angel Walk: Nurses at War in Iraq and Afghanistan. My dream was to have the book endorsed by Gen. Powell. Instead, he called me to say what a fine book it was, but he was prohibited from endorsing any books because of the avalanche of requests it generated in his office. I shared that his “stated” endorsement, written or not, meant the world to me. Still his question was the same, “What will you do next?” I answered that I did not know, but he would be the first to know it when it came to me.

Norwich Nursing

My unexpected invitation to apply for the position as the Director of the School of Nursing at Norwich University was a long-shot given the weather (I was in Florida at the time) and my prejudices about academia. However, once I visited the campus, met the students, faculty members and senior administrators, I fell in love. It was a dream job to be able to be with my soldiers and nurses again. I held my breath waiting for the decision, and once it came, my first action was to text my general. He answered immediately, congratulating me and saying that clearly I had one more assignment before I really retired. “I am so very proud of you,” he wrote.

The past one-and-a-half years has been a whirlwind of getting oriented to my new job and getting my arms around my students and faculty members. It has been pure joy. I continuously share with others Mark Nepo’s quote, “Joy in what we do is not an added feature; it is a sign of deep health.” That quote sustains me now and led me to contact my general to ask him to share with our Norwich University community what service to others has meant to him as a leader. He did not disappoint.

[pullquote cite=”Sharon Richie, PhD” type=”right”]These words from one of my nursing students showed me that the lessons learned from my general stood the test of time and were still being passed on to our next generation of leaders.[/pullquote]

Amy Bidell is a senior nursing student here at Norwich and the president of the Student Nurses Association. A member of the Navy ROTC program, Amy was chosen to listen to two thought leaders, Gen. Sullivan and Gen. Powell, during the latter’s visit to campus in November 2014 in a private session with nine other cadets. Amy shared her thoughts with me about the session:

“General Powel and General Sullivan, both of whom sat at the table with us to speak, did not speak of current political or national security issues as I had imagined. Both gentlemen spoke primarily of family and the importance of having a solid support system at home throughout one’s career, whether it be a military career or not. General Powell told one story in particular in which he came home in his new uniform the day after receiving a new rank. The moment he proudly walked into the door with his new insignia, his daughter yelled to Mrs. Powell, “Mom, the GI Joe is home!”

“From both General Powell and General Sullivan I realized the importance of still having a ‘human’ element to one’s life, even if only behind closed doors. General Powell and General Sullivan are obviously both high-ranking prestigious military leaders. Yet based on their stories, it was apparent they both have an aspect of their lives that can be found in many American homes of any social class: a loving family with whom they have fun. This aspect of their life, while maybe small in comparison with the time-consuming nature of their careers, seemed to be the glue that held all other aspects of their life together and gave it meaning.”

These words from one of my nursing students showed me that the lessons learned from my general stood the test of time and were still being passed on to our next generation of leaders. I thank Gen. Powel today as much as I did in 1980. He is the epitome of leadership, service to country and balance with a strong family life.

Editor’s note: Visit the Todd Lecture Series website to watch Gen. Powell’s 2014 Veterans Day talk at Norwich University.

Financial Services Internship Helps Chart Future

Working at National Life Group “helped introduce me to the industry and provided some insight into what I could possibly do after college,” Ranson Hudson reports.
By Ranson Hudson ’15, Accounting & Business Management Major
School of Business & Management

 
October 22, 2014

This summer I interned with Equity Services Incorporated (ESI) the in-house broker/dealer and one of four companies that make up the National Life Group, a diversified insurance and financial services corporation based in Montpelier, Vt. Interning at ESI, I was introduced to all aspects of the business while shadowing staff in the various sections of the broker/dealer: new business, trading, brokerage and licensing. As the summer went on, I worked more closely with the new business unit as it deployed new technologies that ESI was incorporating to keep them ahead in the field.

National Life Group has a very developed internship program. While working with ESI, I also learned and worked with all the other National Life Group interns, joining weekly seminars where we covered the ins and outs of the company. The highlights of my summer experience were the people I worked with and the project assigned to me at the beginning of the internship. During the first week, interns were split up into groups of five or six and given a project to work on for the entire summer. Projects were designed to benefit the company as a whole. We were charged to present our results at the end of the summer in a contest to determine which group produced the best outcome.

The summer was a great experience. It helped introduce me to the industry and provided some insight into what I could possibly do after college. With a dual major in accounting and business management, it has been a real struggle for me to decide what path I want to take after college. This internship helped me start making decisions. I would recommend the National Life Group internship program to any college student who is thinking about a possible career in finance, accounting or business management.

New Leadership Minor at School of Business and Management

The new minor helps students gain leadership know-how and experience through multidisciplinary academic exploration and discovery.
By Mike Kelley, PhD, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
School of Business & Management

 
October 22, 2014

The leadership minor offers students a means to expand their knowledge and experience in leadership via an informally guided, multidisciplinary journey of academic exploration and discovery. Newly offered this 2014-15 academic year, the minor builds on the premise that leadership development is a core mission of Norwich University. The leadership minor focuses on building an understanding of self and others as members of teams. Taken as a whole, the minor enhances development of knowledge and skills essential in the 21st century, particularly the role of the team member; teamwork; critical thinking; ethical decision-making; mental agility; oral and written communications; planning; self-awareness, including self-assessment, self-reflection and self-regulation; and reflection on ethical standards of conduct in the professional world.

Leadership Minor Facts:

  • The NU Leadership minor is open to students of all academic majors.
  • All minor courses must be completed with a grade of C or better to earn the minor.
  • It is most beneficial if the student selects the minor prior to the start of her or his junior year to allow maximum time for personal assessment, reflection, growth and development.
  • All students in the minor will have the opportunity for informal coaching and mentoring by a member of the multidisciplinary Leadership Minor Committee and will have the opportunity to attend and participate in optional leadership development activities.

Minor Requirements:

  • Two prescribed classes, Psychology of Leadership (PY210) and Organizational Behavior (MG351).
  • The NU ethics course required for your major.
  • Two elective courses from two disciplines outside your major. They may be chosen from a broad list that includes one junior year ROTC course.
  • An integrating experience course, such as a senior year ROTC course.

Robust Slate for School of Architecture + Art 2014-15 Lecture Series

Upcoming speakers include Michael Gericke, partner at global design powerhouse Pentagram, and Kill Shakespeare graphic artist Andy Belanger.
By Tolya Stonorov & Timothy Parker, Assistant Professors
School of Architecture + Art

 
October 22, 2014

Over homecoming weekend, the School of Architecture + Art kicked off its annual lecture series, supported in part by the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation, with a Norwich focus. Two students who received the prestigious Summer Research Fellowship, Shaili Patel and Taylor Davidson, each presented their research. They were followed by a lecture from Norwich architecture alumnus Jason Iacobucci, principal of Solus 4, an architecture, interior, and planning design and research firm which operates as a core group collaborative on a global platform.

The lecture series continued this October when Michael Gericke, a partner at Pentagram, self-described as the world’s largest independent design consultancy, who spoke on October 10. With offices in London, New York, San Francisco, Berlin and Austin, Pentagram markets itself by stating, “We design everything: architecture, interiors, products, identities, publications, posters, books, exhibitions, websites and digital installations.”

Co-sponsored by the Norwich University Writers Series, Andy Belanger (Andy B.), the graphic artist for the comic book series Kill Shakespeare will talk about creating art and life as a comic artist at the Chaplin Hall Gallery on Friday, Nov. 7 at 4 p.m. Kill Shakespeare is a 12-issue comic book that deals with William Shakespeare’s characters and Shakespeare himself. These famous characters are brought to life and they either long to kill Shakespeare or to protect him. The first 12 issues of Kill Shakespeare were adapted into a live staged reading format in 2011, which the Norwich Pegasus Players will perform on Friday and Saturday, November 7-8, at 7:30 p.m. in Dole Auditorium.

Later on November 14, Whitney Sander of the international-award-winning Sander Architects joins us from Los Angeles. Sander’s work includes a Hybrid House that “uses components of prefab technology to create homes that are custom designed for each client. Homes that are not only green but also very high design.” This focus on prefab and green design choreographs well with Norwich’s recent completion of the Delta T-90 Solar Decathlon house.

In February, we are thrilled to host Michael Cotton, a senior architect with Snøhetta, New York, who will discuss a newly completed project. Snøhetta’s designs are cutting edge, internationally recognized as among the best in the world. Their work varies in scope from architecture to landscape to branding.

On March 27, the School of Architecture + Art co-sponsors a symposium with the Vermont Arts Council on modern identity in architectural history, theory and practice. Prof. Vladimir Kulić, Prof. Monica Penick and Norwich Assistant Professor of History and Theory of Architecture and Art Prof. Timothy Parker are co-editors of Sanctioning Modernism: Architecture and the Making of Postwar Identities. The trio will convene and join a panel of practicing architects in a Sanctioning Modernism symposium that seeks to reflect on how modern identity touches present-day clients, architects’ own design principles and related contexts.

Norwich architecture alumnus Gavin L. Engler, an associate with Carol A. Wilson Architect in Falmouth, Me., whose work has been published and widely recognized for its excellence in design, will give the final lecture of the school year on April 10. Engler was named one of Maine’s “Forty Under 40” in recognition of his commitment to leadership, professional excellence and community involvement.

The School of Architecture + Art heartily invites you to join us for any or all of these events, which are all held in Chaplin Hall Gallery.

City Lab: Berlin – Norwich University’s International Campus

The micro-campus set in a city renowned for its experimental architecture and design offers students an outstanding study abroad experience.
By Christian Dengler, 
Director | City Lab: Berlin

October 22, 2015

Contemporary Berlin is experienced as a dynamic superposition of disrupted layers of history, unfolding on it’s way back as a global capital and intellectual and artistic center. Berlin is one of the few UNESCO cities of design and a prototype of radical urban and architectural transformations. It‘s urban form is a collage of contradictory urban typologies reflecting it’s volatile urban history: from Baroque, Classicist, 19th-century Historism, 20th-century Modernism and Avant-garde to Post-war Capitalist developments of West Berlin, communist housing blocks of East Berlin and late 20th and early 21st-century reconstructions, when Berlin became the capital of a unified Germany.

City Lab: Berlin, an international campus of Norwich University, provides an overview of the urban spaces, buildings, architects and theories that have shaped Berlin’s identity. Classes are organized with coordinated site visits that familiarize students with the historical background of the city and help them develop a critical and personal approach to looking at architecture. The buildings and urban spaces we visit have been selected for their architectural significance, as well as their reflection of the different periods of Berlin’s complex history.

As a laboratory for design experimentation, Berlin acquaints students with the production of a wide range of contemporary and iconic modern architectures within the process of rebuilding in a key European city. In the city’s inspiring and fascinating context, students combine site analysis with their talent and intuition to experience and design. Berlin offers students a wide variety of spatial, visual and cultural encounters, from the collections of images housed in its numerous museums and galleries to its breadth of architecture that has shaped Berlin’s controversial identity. As the site of a number of movements in arts and architecture, from Expressionism to Dada, Modernism to Rationalism and photomontage to film propaganda, it is a perfect place to explore the role of architecture as a form of visual production in cultural understanding.

City Lab: Berlin provides an outstanding study abroad experience, balancing a well-structured curriculum with individual independence and comprehensive experience. In its first year of operation, it has attracted students from Carnegie Mellon University and Hobart William Smith College as well as Norwich. The program demands concentration and dedication, as students learn to negotiate between the experience of living in a foreign environment (as avid consumers of knowledge) and the time they spend in studio (as diligent producers of architectural design). Students must show an open attitude towards learning in a new environment and a special commitment to producing rigorous academic work. Students will also have extensive independent time to explore Berlin, Germany and Europe on their own.

For those unfamiliar with Berlin, the encounter with a rather green city often comes as a surprise. The city’s green public spaces are found everywhere, both as large planned parks and informal public spaces scattered across the urban fabric. Not all of Berlin’s green spaces, however, are the product of innovative city planning, but rather the result of war, destruction and division. In a short period of time, the city became the focal point for migration and a melting pot for hundreds of thousands of different peoples, lives and cultures. Berlin faced the ecological problems of industrialization and damage caused by the city’s uncontrolled growth, resulting in the extreme density of its urban architecture and the apparent complexity of modern everyday life.

The superposition and layering of contrasting sounds, aesthetics, solids and voids, smells and different speeds of the city soon became the myth of Berlin and one of the most powerful symbols of Modernity itself. The complexities and damages of the city‘s uncontrolled growth necessitated professional planning to develop new urban concepts and strategies. New housing forms, known as Mietkasernen, or “rental barracks,” came to define the urban context. But it was the appearance of a new industrial architecture inaugurated by Peter Behrens’s AEG Turbine Hall in the Berlin district of Moabit in 1909 that opened the door for Modernism. During the unstable Weimar Republic, Berlin experienced an architectural renaissance fueled by the collective talent of such vanguard architects as Eric Mendelsohn, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Hans Poelzig and Bruno and Max Taut, who gradually steered design away from Expressionism towards a “new objectivity,” or Neue Sachlichkeit.

The Bauhaus, founded in 1919 and given an iconic home in Dessau by Walter Gropius in 1926, spawned a generation of architects and designers eager to advance new forms, materials and methods. Adolf Hitler’s ascent to power in 1933 forced the avant-garde underground or into exile, and the Nazis established their own reactionary design agenda. Albert Speer’s plans for a new capital called “Germania,” built within Berlin, were only partially realized before WWII began. Allied bombing raids and Soviet invasion left Berlin in ruins, and capitulation brought about a Stunde Null, a “year zero,” in the city’s—and the nation’s—political and cultural life.

With the establishment of two German states after WWII, reconstruction assumed different guises on either side of the Wall. The erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961 transformed vast areas of what had been part of a dense urban fabric into devastated border zones. In Communist East Berlin, Soviet-sanctioned historicism was eventually replaced by the functional modernism of the prefabricated Plattenbau, while in West Berlin international building exhibitions attempted to address the physical and infrastructural deficiencies facing a city made an island by the Cold War.

The fall of the Wall in 1989 was the beginning of a new and exciting era of economic, cultural and social change. Physically, it revealed the scars left by a gruesome object brutally planted in the midst of the cityscape. Though most of these open lots have since been filled with office and apartment buildings, the future of many remains uncertain. After reunification and the German Parliament’s vote, in 1991, to move the capital from Bonn to Berlin, the world watched with fascination as the city began forging yet another identity. The (re)installation of government institutions in the heart of Berlin, along with the huge commercial complex grouped mainly around the Potsdamerplatz have given the city a new image. Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum, Norman Foster’s renovated Reichstag and Frank Gehry’s DG Bank are among the most high-profile projects, but many other less publicized works have emerged by talented local designers.

The shift of modernistic and hierarchic planning of cities and buildings towards the development of sustainable strategies of heterogeneity and complexity is a great challenge and commitment for future designers and architects. Art critic and early German historian of modern art Karl Scheffler said, in 1910, that “Berlin is condemned to always continue to be and never to be,” giving us a chance to reflect on how the many changes have affected the character of Berlin as a laboratory and to what extent the city is a model for urban development in the 21st century.