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  • Juan Almarza Anwandter

Back to things themselves n°1: The snow over Berlin


I come from Chile, a land in which snow is mostly confined to the Andes, the extreme South and Antarctica. It is not part of our "Lebenswelt", neither plays a main role in the articulation of our cultural landscape. So, experiencing this phenomena is still something rather unusual and extraordinary for me. Somehow I see it with the naive eyes of a kid. Analyzed from this perspective, what appears to be interesting is the fact that snow covers everything. It doesn´t "discriminate", and in this sense it can be related with other natural phenomena, like the sunlight, the rain and the wind. But the main difference is that, although being ephemeral, snow leaves traces, and allows us to leave traces on it as well. It transforms the city into a big white canvas. It also has a particular "tempo": the snowflakes do not simply fall following a linear, gravitational trajectory like a rain drop, but they seem to float, wandering around, so to say. They gradually cover the ground, and paradoxically, make it appear, revealing its presence, which usually goes inadverted. The asphalt is certainly less appealing. Snow blurs limits and distinctions, bringing things back to a primordial state of unified wholeness. Maybe this is why it it communicates a certain sense of peace.

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Some inspiring quotes:

"Architecture is the only art in which the great struggle between the will of the spirit and the necessity of nature issues into real peace, in which the soul in its upward striving and nature in its