Central State Bank in Berlin and Brandenburg, Potsdam, DE 1999
Architect: Ortner und Ortner
The new building ensemble of the Landeszentralbank is situated in an area of late nineteenth-century villas and greenery. The actual heart of the bank building is a threestorey safe deposit vault, which remains invisible from the outside. Discretion, the best of all banking virtues, determines the outward appearance of the building. On the front lawn and on a cement bench, 17 oversized magpies are positioned. These are made of cast aluminum; the painted surfaces are anodized. The birds are three times as large as their living models, and so can be seen easily from afar. According to tradition, the magpie is known as a thievish bird that loves to carry shiny objects off to its nest. An entire group of magpies lurks in front of the Landeszentralbank, with its huge invisible safe full of presumably glittering content. The magpies refer, visually enciphered, to the actual object of their craving: the contents of the safe. In an associative interlocking of various locations and levels of meaning, an encoded image of desire is born, a component inherent to money at all times.