By: Sigurd Larsen, Simon Jendreizig, Vanessa Panagiotopoulou, Marlene Kjeldsen, Guillermo Fernandez Villar & Pedro Campos Altozano
Berlin is expecting a population of four million people in 2030. That means 500.000 more citizens in 14 years! Before World War II, Berlin had five million citizens and as a result, the infrastructure such as sewers and metro is already prepared for the growth. Apartments is what the city is lacking.
The postwar reconstruction of Berlin was a lot less dense than the pre-war urban tissue. The contrast between the architectural scales of the different areas and neighborhoods creates the unique character of the city. So how to work with, rather than against the aesthetics of the areas with large-scale concrete blocks?
Located between the attractive neighborhoods of Kreuzberg and Mitte, a massive 270 meters long uninterrupted concrete block was built along Heinrich-Heine-Straße in what today appears as a gap in the city.
Imagine you have lived in a house for many years and suddenly a construction site starts over your roof. After completion, a new segment of people move in and change the demography of your community at a rapid pace. This project aims to make sure the inhabitants of the existing building also benefit from the extension and share facilities with the newcomers.
Building upwards in layers
As a first layer, a long green park is established on the roof along the entire length of the building. The park offers a scenic walk with paths between little hills containing the roots of the trees. Every hallway is extended with a staircase and elevator so every neighbor gets access to the attractive outdoor facilities. The new dwellings are organized as a long stretched village underscoring the horizontality of the concrete block, fading into little forests and meadows framing the astonishing view. Everyone in the house gets access to the low horizon seen from above Berlins many trees.
Inside the new homes every piece of furniture can be orientated towards the big window, framing the Berlin skyline. Steps will let light and the view reach deep into the room.
The kitchen is the space with most social activity and less demand for privacy, and is therefore visually connected to the garden and the path between the houses. This will help to ensure a passive surveillance of outdoor spaces and contact between neighbors.
Modules enable adaptability
The new houses are based on a modular system. The basic module is suitable for singles and couples. A plug-in module with bedroom creates additional space for a child or for students to share a home. A third unit adds a bedroom more and upgrades the bathroom for larger families. In this way, a social mix is facilitated. The light construction made entirely in wood is also highlighted in the aesthetic of the inner spaces and creates a comfortable inner climate.