The Galleria Kaufhof looms up from Alexanderplatz, seven floors tall. The Kaufhof, having survived through various incarnations, was once, not that long ago, a temple of drab DDR chic, stocked to abundance as a ripost to the affluence on the other side of the wall. Now it bristles with tinsel and fairly lights. Everything is lit. The sparkling tat of late capitalism laid out for Christmas. Superabundance.
A vertiginous chasm opens from the escalator onto seven overlit floors of expensive commodities. Confronted with the drop, the sheer sense of surfeit, it is hard not to understand the impulse which led to the bombing of the KDW (the Kaufhof’s western equivalent) in the sixties.
Of course the terrorist’s indifference to the human consequences of their actions betrays both their lack of empathy and the paucity of their imaginations but this spectacle seems to demand a response. Subversion remains preferable to confrontation and so, in the spirit of the season, my (an)architectural proposal would be for the construction of a large hole, the same cubic capacity as the Kaufhof, in the vicinity. The hole could be used as landfill, along the same lines that early human settlements built their adobe dwellings on top of the corpses of their ancestors.