In late summer 2019, two residential buildings were completed on the north bank of the River Spree in Berlin’s Osthafen between the districts of Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Treptow. The concept for the new buildings derives from the particular qualities of its waterside location.
The design for the ensemble provides public access to the riverside zone along the Spree. “Wave” not only incorporates the waterfront path, but also orients the building to the south overlooking the water with spacious courtyard gardens and yacht-like balconies. By facing out over the water towards the iconic “Molecule Men” landmark, it avoids the typical inward-looking hermetic privacy of many projects. At its centre, the riverside path widens to form a small square together with gardens and a jetty alongside the Spreepromenade.
By not building along the waterfront and pairing the inner side wings, the two buildings form a continuous architectural figure. The elongated facade frontage ensures that each apartment has a view over the water and sun from the south.
The soft curving lines of the south-facing elevation give the facade a sculptural, eroded amorphous figure that echoes the narrative qualities of its waterside location in the building’s fluid architectural form. The design of the ensemble springs from this conceptual idea as well as its accommodation of the social requirements of the neighbourhood.
The north facing elevation presents a contrasting facade to the urban grain of the quarter that picks up the clear rectangular geometry of the turn-of-the-century Gründerzeit buildings along the Stralauer Allee. Bay windows to the north enhance the apartments’ floor plans and afford views of Berlin’s iconic Fernsehturm. The resulting geometric articulation of the facade mediates between the urban street facade and the open, sculptural quality of the waterfront.
The roof is conceived as a “fifth facade” for communal use with rooftop allotment gardens, terraces and playgrounds for both public and private-communal activities. The green courtyard gardens in the communal forecourt adjoining the waterside promenade create an open, green space in the heart of the city in which residents and neighbours can come together.