Berlin Lab

Favorite Moments from Berlin: Lutz Henke, Program Manager

Lutz Henke

Lutz Henke, Program Manager

Last fall, in the wake of the Lab’s time in New York, I collected and shared one favorite memory from several people who had worked at the Lab. The resulting post, “As We Move Forward, a Nostalgic Look Back,” turned out to be among my favorite ones from the New York Lab. The reason? It encapsulated a truth about the Lab itself: just like a city, the Lab is defined by an indefinite mass of individual experience.

With this in mind, I decided once again to talk to some of those who made the Lab possible, and ask them to share the moments that will remain with them long after the Lab has departed for Mumbai. We’ll feature memories from one or two people every day this week, so come back tomorrow for more reflections on Berlin.

Today, thoughts on the Berlin Lab come from Lutz Henke, Program Manager:

“My favorite moment has nothing to do with the programs or people at the Lab. It’s about the construction of the Lab—the architecture. It was this really nice, sunny Berlin afternoon—which we didn’t have so many of—but it was this really pleasant temperature and the curtains were flowing in the wind. All of a sudden, we had all these little sparrows and birds just flying through the empty Lab.

“This is really my favorite moment because it was so beautiful. It was really peaceful. No one was there and you just had these creatures, which have nothing to do with the Lab at all, and they’re just, in a way, making the Lab very lively—you know, like it’s not a structure that functions anymore. It’s not like, okay, this is meant to be a roof for people to sit underneath for people to listen to talks, but instead you have these birds, and in a way they’re completely expanding the structure.

“The Lab is very classic architecture; it’s a container space. It’s like, look—this is a container, and in this container you’re going to move within this space. And so these birds are kind of dissolving the whole thing, they’re flying there, they’re not walking in, they don’t care what the Lab is .  . . . It’s like the abandoned concrete hotels on the Caribbean coast where the jungle is taking over and really making the function of the architecture [inconsequential]—it just doesn’t matter what it is. It’s this moment of freedom for this bird flying through the Lab. That’s my favorite Lab moment.”