© bitterbredt.de

The new station housing the police and fire departments for the government district of Berlin is an extension to a now free-standing 19th-century structure, located on the edge of a former goods yard close to the river Spree. The singlebanked rear wing of the building serves as a backbone for the extension, which as a luminous “floating” body nestles against the lower part of the sheer brick wall. The space under-neath the new building provides covered parking for the various vehicles of the police station and fire brigade, whilst the yard accommodates the necessary manoeuvres of the large fire engines.

As the building is set back considerably from the main road and lies approximately 6 m below street level, a new footbridge brings the visitor to the police station on the level of the bel étage. Placing the entrance to such a building through a first-floor window of its representative historical façade is both a pragmatic solution and a gesture appropriate to the surreal quality of its location.

The façade of the extension comprises large-scale glass shingles, celebrating the formal and material contrast between an existing Berlin building fragment and its new addition. The reds and greens used in the façade play not only with the heraldic colours of Germany’s fire brigades and police, but also with the colour contrast between the existing brick structure and the surrounding groups of mature trees.

© bitterbredt.de

The extension exploits the previously single-loaded corridor of the existing building, and the new two-storey slab hugs the existing party wall. Floating above the ground, it allows both police vehicles and fire engines to park beneath. Locating the police facilities at the northern end of the site enabled the representative facade of the existing building to be used as the public face of the new Police Station.

The all glass façade comprises large-scale shingles that are 65 cm tall, varying in length from 1m to 2.5 m. The slight tilting brings reflection of the sky onto the building volume – highlighting the contrast to the mattness of the existing brick and stone structure. In front of the windows the shingles form large moveable louvres offering protection from sun and glare; Here the louvres are 85% printed, while in the remaining areas the glass is opaque. The louvres are controlled directly by the inhabitants of the building.

© bitterbredt.de
© bitterbredt.de
© bitterbredt.de
© bitterbredt.de
© bitterbredt.de


  • Renovation and extension of a former goods yard building


  • Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Wohnen


  • gross floor area: 6.900 m²
  • competition: 1999, 1st prize
  • 2001 — 2004


  • Architekturpreis Berlin 2006, Auszeichnung
  • RIBA Award 2005
  • AIA Award 2005

project team