Paul Eis, Colouring Berlin

German photographer and aspiring architect, Paul Eis, an 18 year old born in Berlin is adding a bit of colour to the streets of Berlin. He’s currently studying architecture at the University of Art and Industrial Design in Linz (Austria) whilst enjoying a huge following on photography website/app Instagram under the handle the_architecture_ photographer. With his combined interests of photography and architecture he has embarked on a mission to reappropriate the streetscapes of Berlin and turn the “dull grey tones” into a flamboyant spectrum of colours.

“I have had an interest in architecture and buildings since I can remember. Naturally, not like how i look at architecture today. I was fascinated by skyscrapers and I just wanted to draw the tallest ones I knew. My real interest in architecture came with photography when I became aware of the architecture and the structures of the city around me,” he confessed, in an interview with Dezeen. “Berlin’s architecture has so many faces that it wouldn’t be possible to describe all of them.

On the edges of the city are mainly social housing districts, there are the socialist buildings in the east of Berlin. And also in western Berlin are huge social housing districts, but with a totally different and not so monotonous architecture and also a different social structure. “In the center areas of Berlin is a total mixture of architectural styles. I would maybe even say that there is chaos; mainly as a result of the destruction in the second world war.

Besides the splendid historic buildings of the 19th century there are a lot of post- war buildings which are often very gray and monotonous.” He said his idea of adding colour to the buildings came almost by accident. When viewing some photos of buildings that he had shot, he realized how grey the cityscape of Berlin is in general. He thought of a way to make the buildings look more interesting than they actually are. “The first buildings where I tried this “experiment“, had been some of the strong rectangular social housing estates of the former GDR.

The geometric shape fascinated me, but all the buildings looked very similar. So I added colourful patterns on the facade to create unique images. I think colour also helps to understand the structure of the building or at least arouse interest for the building. In a world of grey, good architecture can often not be perceived.” Every image has the same background.

Except the full frame facades. That works as a characterizing part which he says allows his images to be recognized as one series. It also focuses the viewer’s eye on the building itself and does not distract him. Besides in all pictures, except a very few, are the buildings photographed from the front and I applied a perspective correction on them so all vertical lines of the building are also vertical in the image. That lets the building appear monumental and stoic.

But because I photographed all with a wide angle lens, all the images also have a sense of depth. Asked about his favourite artwork, The Marco Polo Tower by Behnisch Architekten, he remarked: “It’s a very special building. It’s standing in a new developed area in the harbor of Hamburg, which is called ‘Hafencity’. Even there, where most of the buildings are characterized by modern and often spectacular shapes, this tower sticks out with its curvy and powerful design.

“The building stands almost alone on the dock and guarantees it’s inhabitants a “million dollar view” over the whole harbor with hundreds of huge ships coming and going each day. However, that’s also the problem for this development. Firstly, the inhabitants are completely exposed to the harbour fumes and secondly all the smoke turns the bright white facade dirty and gray. So the effect which the building should actually achieve is almost nullified. I think my colorful edit gives the building its effect back and allows it to look more spectacular and beautiful than it ever looked when it was all white. So it looks for me like a colorful Coral (which is also the title i gave the image).”