By Nurzhanat Kenenov (TENarchitects)
re-MODU-cycle is a project designed to revitalize an existing 10 storey building in East Berlin via the addition of off-site constructed modules to create extra accommodation space on top of the existing structure.
Berlin is currently undergoing a phase of rapid urbanisation as young professionals and students gravitate to the rich, dynamic opportunities the city offers. Opportunistic developers look to reduce the long cycle times of traditional apartment style construction to take advantage of the business opportunities that Berlin’s growth presents. The re-MODU-cycle project addresses the opportunity by “recycling” an existing building in Berlin; adding new, lightweight modular blocks on top of the existing structure.
The project site is located on Karl Marx Allee in former East Berlin, a street dominated by communist era residential buildings. This type of building is well suited to rooftop modification, greatly simplifying the process of adding new structures.
re-MODU-cycle proposes that each apartment consist of off-site fabricated modules using Metsä Wood Kerto® LVL wood, with each module sized for ease of transport. Services fit out, interior design and finishing works are also completed off-site. The completed modules are then transported to site for final assembly by truck. Preparatory works associated with modifying the existing roof; the relocation of existing rooftop services, addition of structure to support the modules and extending existing lift shafts & fire stairs must be completed in a staged fashion as modules arrive for final assembly.
Off-site fabrication of the modules has many advantages; it reduces the total cost of construction by moving the majority of the works to a controlled, production line type environment, allowing for faster, highly accurate construction due to the use of templates and computerized tools. The impact of weather on total construction is therefore minimized. Importantly, it also ensures that the impact of construction on existing residents is diminished by drastically reducing the volume of work performed on site.
The target residents for re-MODU-cycle are students, young professionals and small families. Apartments consist of either 1 or 2 bedrooms with a limited footprint to allow a maximum number of apartments to be added to the existing building. The small footprint is offset by a floor to floor height of 5.0m, incorporating a mezzanine to increase GFA, thereby creating a balance between usable and non-usable space. The living and dining areas take advantage of the high ceiling area. Bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms are above and below the mezzanine with a ceiling height of 2.2m; the minimum considered comfortable for a smaller room.
The top of the newly added structure is designed as a roof terrace and incorporates a gym, laundry, study rooms, function space, lounges and barbecue pits which are shared between the new and existing residents alike. Space around the facilities forms a loop, to create a jogging track.
Re-Modu-Cycle not only provides new homes for Berlin, it recycles and revitalizes an existing building to retain the unique character of the former East Berlin district for the benefit of both new and existing residents of Berlin.