The Tube

An Architecture for Conceivable Times

15 Sep – 5 Nov 2023

In the early 1980s, architect and member of the “Werkbund” Günther L. Eckert developed an architectural utopia: a huge tube spanning the globe, that would provide a living space for all of humanity.

With a detailed technical design, Eckert wanted to prove that all of humanity could live in prosperity on Earth without further exploiting and destroying the planet. With the presentation of the “Tube”, the Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge offers a space to reflect on architectures of the future. To this end, Eckert’s concept is supplemented by historical as well as present-day utopias. This expandable collection shows how structural and technical visions are at once political and social visions.

Unlike many other utopian concepts, Eckert did not plan for a place nowhere to be found or a day never to come. Rather, he developed a self-contained control loop based on the tendencies inherent in technology. It was important to him that the construction, which looked like a spaceship, could be built in the here and now with the available means and techniques.

Eckert’s ideas were not essentially aimed at the architectural-technical construct. Rather, he hoped that people could give up their “I” in favor of a “we” and agree on a project shared by all. The tube was envisioned as a possible building for such a human society determined by the “we”.

In face of the climate crisis, the ever-increasing destruction of the environment and the inhabitable parts of the earth, not only urban planning and architecture are challenged to design sustainable living spaces. What form could these take? Visitors are invited to contribute their ideas for the life and housing of tomorrow.

The Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge is taking its current situation – the termination of the museum’s lease by an anonymous real estate fund – as an opportunity to devote itself in presentations, exhibitions, events, and educational formats to the Werkbund topic of the city, which has hitherto been less present in the museum’s work.

“The Tube. An Architecture for Conceivable Times” is the last presentation in the museum spaces in Kreuzberg: on November 5, 2023, the museum will close its doors at Oranienstrasse 25 after 17 years.



Michael Fehr