Title Image

Zeal Pictures

Project type: Residential, Commercial/Retail


Location: Berlin, Germany


Time: 2003


Client: Zeal Pictures Europe


Status: Completed


Size: 7,000 sqm


Cost: 5,000,000 €


Photos: Torsten Seidel Fotographie

Modern trends are redefining conventional notions of how we live and work. The clear separation of office and home of the era of modernism is being eroded by new ideas that resist typological classification.


In times of change, mobility and flexibility, new factors are emerging that blur the boundaries between work and life:

– Geographical mobility – the opportunities and necessity of globalisation
– “Always on” – constant connectivity through mobile communication systems
– Individualism – hybrid skills sets are eroding traditional job descriptions and bringing forth new combinations of work profiles
– Self-realization – new patterns of working relationships, flat hierarchies and networks make it possible for motivated individuals to pursue their own dreams and achieve economic success
– Transitioning – the boundaries between working and living are becoming increasingly blurred in everyday life
– Ambiguous spaces – the office and apartment are no longer spatially distinct areas


This is the point of departure for the transformation of an old heterogeneous factory complex adjoining the river Spree in Berlin into new living-office spaces. The storyboard begins in the courtyards where the floor folds is folded back to create areas of focus and access to infrastructure. The “gate” to the Loft is an old freight elevator, originally destined for demolition. GRAFT re-used the elevator, turning it into a vertical multi-media vestibule, creating an individual entry scenario for each loft by storyboarding the client’s journey to the office.


A key priority for the design of the Lofts was to maintain the enormous potential of the 750 m² floorplans. The living and office area is one continuous space, punctuated only by two freestanding volumes. These volumes act as “spaceshifters” that redefine the space by means of moving walls and doors. As dividers, they create sub-spaces within the flowing space resulting in an ambivalent spatial figure-ground. Depending on the time of the day, functional need or atmospheric scenario, this “living office” can change to meet a range of hybrid needs between a high-tech office and a high-end apartment.