City above Berlin By Maren Dominick

City above Berlin

​By Maren Dominick

As we know, cities are growing due to social, political and economical reasons. At the same time the ecological factor of land sealing has to be considered in creating more urban housing. The goal of my approach was to create a system to realize vertical extensions on top of the typology of the ‚Zeilenbauweise‘ (ribbon development) of the post-war period.

After the World War II there was a tremendous lack of housing due to destruction during the war, 10 million homeless people and refugees from the soviet occupation zone. As a reaction 12 million housing units predominantly ‚Zeilenbauten‘ were built in Germany between the 1950ies and 1960ies. Hence nowadays they represent a common structure in the cities all over Germany,
especially in Berlin.

In order to react to possible differences in widths and lengths of the ‚Zeilenbauten‘ a system of modules was created that realizes the vertical extension with a circumferential cantilever. The modules follow the construction grid of 62,5cm of wood construction and are executed in prefab wood panels. The circulation to the extended floors can be realized easily with an extension of the existing stairs.
A flexible module adapts to the areas behind the stairs and functions as spaces that are not specific in their dimensions such as entrance zones, kitchens, etc. To extend the existing building the modules are put together in vertical segments in reasoned links.
At the same time these segments represent the supporting structure.

Furthermore, these modules are neutral due to their function and can be put together to different types of apartments such as duplex or small single flats. Thus, a diverse neighborhood with families, singles, students and couples will live together in one building.

The façade is executed in wood with a perpendicular structure to emphasize the vertical orientation of the extension.

In my opinion, the post-war ‚Zeilenbauten‘ have a great potential of densification. With the help of the developed system every ‚Zeile‘ in Germany could be extended and at the same time these actions result in an upgrade of the existing building and even the surrounding area. 

City Above the City architecture competition

Plan B : City Above the City architecture competition 

Metsä Wood challenged architects and students around the world to push the boundaries of modern wood building design in the urban environment. Entrants from 40 countries created their Plan B to urbanisation using wood (Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber) as the main material. The task was to design a wooden extension to an existing urban building. The entries were designed to 69 cities worldwide.

Explore the designs