Aldo Rossi used the historical urban approach of dividing land into small plots as his concept for Quartier Schützenstrasse, a classical Friedrichstadt block in Berlin.
Situated nearby Checkpoint Charlie, a framed opening in the wall that used to split Berlin in two, the block is defined by the Schützenstrasse, Markgrafenstrasse, Zimmerstrasse, and Charlottenstrasse.
The individualized houses signal individual plots but the total number of facades exceeds the number of houses standing independently of each other. While two of the buildings are reserved exclusively for residential apartments the rest provide for a mixture of residential and commercial use.
The Quartier Schützenstrasse is a collage of icons and archetypes, with several obvious references to other Rossi buildings as well as historical references.
Schützenstrasse 8 is a copy of the courtyard facade of the Palazzo Farnese in Rome, built in 1516 by Antonio Sangallo, that was modified by Michelangelo. The courtyard facade copies three of the centerline of windows of the Palazzo Farnese.
The intense colorfulness, inspired by the colors of antique architecture, tie the block together and draws attention to the allotment structure, which distinguishes the individual houses. Rossi used particular colors for particular facade materials; the more “artificial” the material, the more “vivid” the color.
Blaring green and bright red signal aluminum. Muted colors; egg yolk yellow, carmine red, and cornflower blue are all stucco. The earthy tones shading into red-brown or yellow indicate bricks. The pale facades are two kinds of natural stone; light and dark gray, sand and pink. The silver-grey sheet metal stays as is.
The urge towards a multiplicity of forms is unmistakable, the efforts beyond variations in color and material impressive. The varying window shapes, the appointment of the attics, the plastic development of the facades through extroverted and reticent sections, through sills and parapet; the sometimes expressly horizontal, other times explicitly vertical division of the mostly axial-symmetric facades; and finally their own, lightly staggered order all contribute to this effect.
The great pains Rossi took with the design of his city-within-a-city were only initially devoted to the plausibility of its lots structure. Rather, the “city” was mainly dedicated to what he called a monument, so that it may have sovereignty over its use, just as it is sovereign over its environment.
— Mathias Remmele
Aldo Rossi died on September 4, 1997, a day before the unveiling of the “Palazzo Farnese” facade; planned as an event to honor Rossi, it became a farewell address.