The initial stimulus for developing this contemporary residential quarter in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg was a proposal to convert an office high-rise from the 1970s into a residential building. The scheme’s layout is based on the palimpsest of this site at the edge of Berlin’s Friedrichstadt district, whose 19th-century city block structure suffered heavy destruction during the Second World War and was consequently due to be remodelled as a modernist urban landscape – although this intention was never fully carried out.

The proposal interprets this layering of ideas and city structures while adding refinements of its own. For example, a public green corridor is proposed along the course of the urban motorway once planned in the north; this is flanked by a residential area in the middle of the site, while the canal to the south is bordered by a mixed-use quarter that embeds the existing high-rise. All this generates a composition of individual forms and interstices that responds to the existing buildings, outdoor spaces and circulation networks and assimilates the two urban design strategies: the free arrangement of individual buildings and the continuation of Kreuzberg’s street pattern of city blocks.

Pairs of apartment houses are united around a shared garden area to form an ‘urban table’, creating a clear hierarchy of public and semi-private zones. The widespread use of the ground floors to accommodate community functions amounts to an active ‘city level’ that gives the whole quarter vitality and a sense of identity. The overall result is an open city quarter of great typological diversity that opens a new chapter in the story of urban life in Berlin.

brief

  • Redevelopment of a mixed-use quarter around a 1960s tower with new buildings for housing, retail, offices, hotel, childcare centre

client

  • CG Gruppe AG

data

  • gross floor area: 68.300 m²
  • competition: 2014, 1st prize

project team

Sara Czerwinska

Vera Hagspiel

Moritz Maria Karl

Jarek Karpik

Yves Kervoelen

Erik Levander

Nils Lindhorst

Elena Martinez

Moojin Park

Katharina Riedel

Vesselina Shushulova

Waldemar Wilwer