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Berggruen Institute Unveiled

LOS ANGELES, CA, USA, 23 August 2017 – The Berggruen Institute project launched to the public today.


Founded in 2010, the mission of the Berggruen Institute is to study the era of transformation we currently live in and to apply new ideas to the design of social, economic, and political institutions. In May 2016, the Institute announced the decision to consolidate its activities in a new campus.


The Institute requires an inspirational setting that accommodates studying, living, and convening functions in close proximity. The architecture must offer venues for lectures, seminars, symposiums and workshops, encourage the spontaneous exchange of ideas, provide quiet space for reflection, and accommodate temporary and long-term stays.


The Berggruen Institute is a landscape vision as much as it is an architectural project. Crucially, to minimize its impact, the project will be built where feasible only on land that has already been modified. The flattened and scraped eastern ridge will be transformed into an elongated park—a gardened plinth, surrounded by a retaining wall and clearly distinguished from the dry, untended vegetation around it. The gardens are self-sustaining; drought-resistant vegetation is coupled with water collection, cleaning, and re-use. Water management becomes a tangible part of the garden experience, similar to historical predecessors, like the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.


The linear park will house three salient features of the Institute campus: the Institute Building, the Scholar Village, and the Chairman’s Residence. The park forms the topographical backbone of the campus.


Jacques Herzog said, “The Berggruen Institute's architecture is intertwined with a specific landscape concept. The rough coastal scrubs and woodlands on the hills and ridges of the property within the Santa Monica mountain range will be juxtaposed with an abundance of specific and diverse gardened areas. The current barren ridge where the campus will be sited is transformed into a self-sustainable oasis by means of a water system within the Institute's campus based on harvesting, collection, cleaning and re-use. Such transformative, immediate impact is also what the Institute and its fellows aim to achieve through their work on today's most urgent concern: the economic, political and ecological imbalance in our societies between scarcity and plenty.”