By Misak Terzibasiyan, Emile Van Vugt, Gabrielius Bublaitis (UArchitects)
The Karl-Marx Allee and its surroundings were selected for the competition site. This area is known for its monumental socialist boulevard built by the GDR in 1952-1960. The district consists of separate apartment blocks up to 10 storeys high. The historical maps of Berlin with the former urban structure of this district were completely different than today’s city skyline. This historic material was the inspiration for creating a new structure above the existing city.
The Karl-Marx Allee and the surrounding residential district were built to solve the housing problems of that time. The new city will be built to solve the future overpopulation problems, while still respecting the past. The grid of the new structure reflects the former street structure.
Growing urban population and earth pollution are among the most significant challenges of humanity today, so a single design solution for a separate building is not suitable for these critical problems. This proposal is an attempt to look at this issue from a more general perspective and to seek a solution to solve future housing problems and provide concepts on a global scale. The main idea is to create a new structure above the existing one and to create a new self-sufficient city where people can live, work and spend their leisure time. A new structure for the information society will be created. Furthermore, the new city will provide energy, food and water not only for itself, but also for the existing old buildings below. It will be a self-supporting system that will transfer the superfluous energy and greenery to the underlying system. This is similar to how the new energy system is currently being solved. We are part of an era of transition and this is the evolution of the existing system to a new system.
As cities grow, the population density is just one of many problems. Together with the growing population, transportation efficiency decreases. To avoid this, the new city “above the city’’ has to be able to supply food for its inhabitants and so a new technology will be implemented which allows food to grow without soil. Plants can then be cultivated on top of roofs without overburdening the existing structures. Moreover, the new city can collect rain water for the plants and this rain water can also be filtered for usage by the residents in their homes. Such innovative gardening could solve transportation problems and create working places near the living spaces. Also, these City gardens provide green spaces and enables the creation of a pleasant environment and reduction of the carbon footprint.
Together with this design, other innovations could be applied to ensure the viability of the future city. Solar panels can be used to produce electricity. The selection of materials for future buildings also needs to be reconsidered. Using Kerto LVL offers a solution not only because light constructions are suitable for building on top of the roofs, but also due to the cheaper transportation costs and because it is a renewable material.
City gardens of Berlin is a complex proposal which solves many problems. The concept encompasses a variety of resources, such as innovative buildings using wood, solar power, food supply and creating a healthy environment for the people in the city.