Project type: Residential
Location: Torstraße 149, 10119 Berlin, Germany
Photo Credit: Tobias Hein
A new apartment building has arrived in Berlin-Mitte. Boldly designed, innovative and elegant, it is an avant-garde building-sculpture in the heart of Berlin that lies somewhere between bourgeois spaciousness and modern transparency. The building stands out with its prismatic aluminium façade, bright, sculptural lobby space and intelligent layout of the split-level apartments.
The innovative façade of Tor149 is an extraordinary visual highlight. Its crystalline surface reflects the sky over the city, changing in appearance with its exposure to light. As one walks past the building, one is accompanied by an ever-changing pattern of light and shadow caused by the material of the faceted façade elements reflecting light in different ways. The façade transforms the traditional qualities of stucco work and the historical proportions of window openings, giving the building a new look.
The house is a conciliatory gesture towards the emotionally-charged atmosphere of Berlin’s ongoing stylistic discourse on nostalgia versus experimentation. The design of Tor149 neither neglects nor emulates historic heritage and urban context, but instead attempts to be a continuation of Berlin’s story. Above all, it presents a possible vision for a home of the future in Berlin.
Instead of a classical façade, where the stucco relief is symmetrical about the centre of the frontage, the prismatic relief of Tor149 is twisted to the east. Located at a slight bend in the Torstraße, this produces a visual effect in which the building seems to “look” in both directions. Coming from east, the effect of the triangulated surface is sharp and narrow, but approaching the building from Friedrichstraße, it seems wide and sharp. From one direction pedestrians experience the building as being be contemporary and transparent, from the other as fitting into the closed frontage of historical Gründerzeit buildings.
Tor149 makes a new contribution to the planning of Berlin’s public spaces by referring to tradition and addressing a desire for solid urban identity, as well as by bringing fresh, futuristic building back into the cosmopolitan city.
The split-level arrangement creates spacious interior experiences more reminiscent of single family houses. An underground car park beneath the building and an inner courtyard of raised beds surrounded by natural stone round off the building’s amenities. The apartments have underfloor heating supplied by a solar thermal energy and gas condensing boiler heating system, a house ventilation system with heat recovery, air-conditioning, a charging station for electric vehicles and an elevator.