Project type: Urban Planning, Office, Residential


Location: Berlin, Germany


Time: 2014


Status: Competition


A location is in process of development that is in one of the most prominent locations in Berlin, in immediate neighborhood to the government quarter, in 270° direct water situation, next to the main station and the museum of contemporary art. It is a location of extraordinary quality, the long-awaited closure between East and West Berlin.


Due to its position in the city, it will become one of the most frequented centers in Berlin. It offers attractive residential and office spaces within an ideal transport connection on the Invalidenstraße. Complementary to this, the development plan with the shopping arcade presents a waterfront at the back of the building, facing south and east, creating a rather quiet and thus highly attractive retreat. In the attempt of making the most of the given qualities, the draft is looking for ideal solutions using the spaces optimally for residential as well as for retail development.

In the context of large-format parceling the question is whether the readability of different living and office developments is given. In the master plan of the main station (Berlin Hauptbahnhof), the relation between the overall appearance and the identity of the two buildings must be clear. The available draft and its general design theme is thus focusing on the desire to transfer the closed identity of the two buildings to the façade patterns. The façade thus stays flexible, changeable, and parametric and can react ideally to the usages and calibres behind the building.


The DNA of the façade consist of repetitive elements, including a simple polygonal relief effect. This element is used recurrently through reflection and adaptation along the whole width. Additionally, balconies or oriels differentiate the picture to create a lively, yet at the same time, very united façade. For the office façade, the smallest axial dimension of 1,35m can be demanded for variable office units. A doubled façade grid dimension of 2,70m would be suitable for the residential area behind, offering the optimal wall and core connections. By easily unscrewing the elements, oriels are directly adjacent to the balconies, which undoubtly improves the view from the east and west façade to the Humboldthafen (Humboldt port). A transit zone between private and public spaces is created, which particularly meets the high demand of privacy. At the same time, it enlarges the apartment by an attractive, protected external space.


Depending on the point of view, the appearance of the façade changes. A flat, connected appearance can be replaced by reliefs and turns in the special areas. At the same time, the superelevation of the standard elements in the arcade and attic zone will be integrated into the picture. Private terraces and special zones of public spaces are also added into it. The arcade that follows the water line of the Humboldt port is open to the public. To the south, outside cafés will enlarge the public visible site of the building. The spectacular view to the south and the water side, to the boats and the main station, will become the main focus of a theatrical façade, including a public arcade, private loges, and terraces. A theatre piece which uses the city as its stage.


All buildings are accessible through individual entrances from the public space, entering stair cases which are modeled as safety stairwells. The location and orientation of the development has been complied with the demand of building as many as possible, quiet apartments, facing the inner courtyard. Flexible office spaces alongside the Invalidenstraße and retail development in the ground floors are in contrast to a high amount of private apartments. In order to receive an apartment key, more apartments will be offered in the first floor, containing the terraces. All apartments in the top floor have access to a roof balcony and a private roof garden. The other apartments have access to shared roof gardens. All the spaces can be reached through the underground car park.


The building will be constructed as a steel frame with flat ceiling structures and sturdy cores.


Landscape planning and green areas
The open space planning remembers the guidelines of the offers of the reward. The redesign adapts to the northern part of the city. The area is terracing downwards to the Humboldthafen and the water line, combining privately and publicly used terraces. Different paths and additional café terraces offer places to stay and relax.


Sustainability and energy concept
The draft aims to develop a sustainable, flexible and rational building that adapts to the needs of a modern society, without harming the soil, air, or water.
It minimizes the energy and water provision by using the “lean-mean-green” strategy, an innovative and modern technology using regenerative energy resources.


In the first round of the competition, it already remembers sustainable criteria. These criteria create benefits that conventional buildings do not. Reduced effects on the environment, a higher user satisfaction, lower life cycle costs, and a higher real estate value are just a view elements of a holistic contemplation.
We developed a holistic approach for the new building, which includes ecological, economic, and socio-cultural interests in the planning. This ensures an economically efficient, environment friendly, and resource saving complex. With this in mind, the available sustainability concept aims, on one hand, at a high quality and value stability of the building, and on the other hand, at future developments.


The following aspects are important elements of the draft and should be realized as follows:
– The overall primary energy provision should be frequently below the permissible limit (EnEV 2009, DIN V 18599)
– Data of energy and media streams in the building will be measured by suitable measurement technology, in order to be able to calculate the entire energy consumption and to re-calculate it into primary energy, to compare it to the targeted value (monitoring)
– No heavy metal in the water (due to chosen materials on the roof, façade and rainwater drainage)
– The ground floor is for public access (restaurant, cinema, town stage)
– High amount of bicycle parking space
– Limited demand of drinking water (water-saving fittings, flow limiter, toilets with economy button)
– Roof construction (green roof, roof terrace)
– High space efficiency
– Accounting of used materials and lower deviation of referenced values to chosen global parameters
– High usage of renewable raw materials
– Avoidance of non-certificated tropic woods (FSC)
– Low target value for indoor air quality , thermic and acoustic comfort, soundproofing and user influence (climax, lighting, anti-dazzle device), additionally, 20% of the space suitable for allergics
– Special solutions for variable usage of elements
– Production of a product documentation, including building instruction manuals or room books
– Accessibility for visually and hearing impaired people, for mentally and emotionally disabled people and physically handicapped
– Optimization of the durability and flexibility
– Early integration of the facility management for an environment- friendly und economical business


Energy concept
The main power supply of the building complex including the necessary media like electricity, running water, and heat, is generally delivered by the local supplier.
As an option, heat/ electricity could be generated via a cogeneration unit (CHPS) and cold water for cooling could be taken from the river Spree. If necessary, energy (heat/ cold) could be generated by a heat pump (water/ water, water/ air). This aims at the independence of the local suppliers for the said media. The optional solutions represent, on a long term basis, an economical energy provision (partly self-sufficient and amortization through low costs), even though it means higher investment costs at first.


The optional refrigeration is possible via heat exchanger, which is part of a closed system, using the low temperatures of the river. For energy generation and/or warm water, photovoltaic modules and/ or solar panels could be installed on the roof of the building. Heat protection in summer could be realized by shading elements (e.g. automatic jalousies).


Apartment buildings
In summer, the intended floor heating could also be used for efficient cooling by using cold water from the river. This could be realized by rule-related switching.


The described aspects are also valid for the retail developments. For example, in the gastro-area ventilation systems are envisioned. In summer, the river can also be used for cooling, here.