GRAFT’s master plan “Siemens Werk Stadt” for the Siemensstadt quarter in Berlin is characterized by its holistic and sustainable design strategy. The project envisages transforming the original Siemensstadt into a dynamic city for a multifaceted urban society.
It incorporates the existing structure of the former Siemens factory grounds with the surrounding neighborhood of great architectural heritage. As a result, the existing Siemens Werk (the former factory) and the Siemens Stadt (its residential neighborhood) are melting into the new Siemens Werk Stadt).
The most striking piece of hybrid architecture is the only planned new building: the Siemens Lab, which will function as an automated manufacturing facility and a welcome center featuring offices and a restaurant with panoramic views. Internally, the design affords visual relationships between automated production halls and PC-based workspaces. Externally, at 47 meters, the building will help generate the identity of the location while simultaneously creating a sense of transparency—its diverse functions will be visible when viewed from the adjoining square.
The Siemens Werk Stadt has been conceived as a heterogenous urban ensemble in which the existing administrative and production facilities will be largely retained as gray energy, complemented by new buildings of high efficiency and comfort and an independent, innovative system for energy, waste and mobility. The volumetric logic of the new buildings is influenced by distinct energy efficient orientation while energy consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced to zero at the end of the Masterplan cycle.
The Siemens Werk Stadt is best accessed via those two intersecting green axes by foot, by bike or by self-driving car inaccessible to cars with conventional combustion engines. The green axis will connect the Siemens Werk Stadt to the adjacent green spaces and create a large, linear recreational area. It will also pass through the former switch hall, whose lively ground floor area will blur the boundaries of inside and outside. The switch hall will thus become an attractive, flexible functional space for addressing future scenarios in the fields of energy, mobility and artificial intelligence—an Electropolis 2.0.
In the east-west direction, the green axis is crossed by the factory axis, which is exclusively dedicated to new GPS-controlled forms of mobility. The factory axis will serve as a (sub)urban public space that promotes the compatibility of living and working through emission-free mobility. Along the axis, projections and recesses of the blocks create wider sections, enhancing their quality as recreational environments. A large tunnel under the factory axis enables quick and easy technical upgradeability of the section, which will serve as a laboratory for testing the newest types of mobility systems. Both axes extend beyond the factory site itself and form a direct connection with the well-established city quarter nearby.
Due to their central location at the intersection of these two axes, the switch halls and tower will retain their prominent status as urban landmarks. The older main administrative building will form the cultural link to the adjacent neighborhoods and aim to representand reflect Berlin’s demographic diversity: alongside a kindergarten, a youth center and an intergenerational house, the building will also accommodate a private university and an exhibition space. This “augmented agora” seeks to expand the catchment area of Siemensstadt and provide relief for social amenities in neighboring districts.
The new Siemens Werk Stadt will incorporate the latest technical and social innovations. In contrast to the existing Siemensstadt, where work, research, living and manufacturing were strictly separated due to their different requirements regarding noise and pollution, today’s quiet, low-emission transport and production technologies make it possible to merge these different typologies.
Many of the companies that will establish new offices in the Siemens Werk Stadt work in the fields of mobility, energy, AI and healthcare. The New Work hall, for example, will offer flexible office units in the form of containers, an indoor green avenue, a food court and an administrative center, while the factory tower opposite will be completely stripped and used as a multifunctional “hypershelf.” By spatially interweaving laboratories, manufacturing areas and office spaces, the design allows the creation of hybrid architectures that unlock a wide range of synergy effects.