Long successful in the movie business, Juerg Judin has transformed his career a bit in recent years and is now one of the most influential gallerists in Berlin. As a part of its “Home Stories,” Freunde von Freunden recently sat down with Judin at his unique Schöneberg home: a former ’50s gas station that Judin spotted in 1992 before purchasing it more than a decade later. Transformed into living quarters and private exhibition hall, the space is home to everything from a large, open kitchen and library to a chicken-filled garden. Here, Judin sheds light on his home and offers a look inside.
For more on Judin’s dwelling, head on over to Freunde von Freunden.
How important is it to you to have outdoor space in your home?
Very. It’s a true luxury to have a house with a garden in the middle of the city. That surely played a part in pushing for the conversion of the gas station into a home. You might not know this, but aside from an avid cook, I’m also an avid ornithologist. Here in this special property I can combine both: I have the rare opportunity to keep an interesting group of wonderful birds and to plant my own tomatoes and herbs.
Do you enjoy that mostly for yourself, or are you also making a statement with this urban oasis?
Building a garden with 50-year-old pines in the middle of the city is of course a kind of statement; especially since the wall keeps this haven hidden from the outside world. You can’t experience the oasis-like quality of the garden until the door closes behind you. I don’t think something like that can really be planned – it developed organically. What was deliberate was the preservationist approach of the house. Most old gas stations have been torn down in recent decades. Thus, the conservation of this building was a major concern for me from the outset.
How long have you had the gas station?
I bought it in 2005, but the first time I saw it was in 1992. It had already been on the market for seven years, unused. A ‘For Sale’ sign with a phone number hung in the window. I photographed the place almost every time I was in Berlin, documenting its slow decay. Here was this somewhat sad useless construction in a perfect central location – it fascinated me and somehow called to me: do something with me!