Residential Building Neue Roßstraße, Wallstraße

Berlin, 2012 - 2014

address:
Neue Roßstraße 16-17
Wallstraße 25A
10707 Berlin-Mitte

staff: Volker Gugath, Martin Keckeis, Janine Tillmann

client: Wohnen an der Neue Roßstraße GmbH & Co. Kg

services: HOAI 1 - 5

BGF: 9 842 m2



On the southern edge of Berlin-Mitte, not far from Märkisches Ufer, in 2014 we completed two residential buildings in a quarter that is both central and secluded. The district has retained its historic layout, but its development testifies to the making of Berlin’s urban history, with its cracks and scars: three-storey residential buildings dating back to 1800, commercial buildings from the boom phase before the First World War, war crises, prefabricated buildings from the GDR era, and cheap projects of the post-Reunification phase stand side by side as if by coincidence.

The two new buildings lie within one block on a legally merged property. They have two different addresses—Wallstraße 25 and Neue Roßstraße 16 and 17— and above all two very different positions in the city structure. One is in the block interior and can develop seemingly freely as a garden house. The other is a town house on the street, another building block in the collage-like structure whose parts are incompatible.

The duplex house on Neue Roßstraße occupies a parcel of consisting of two 15-metre widths. To the left, it is attached to a prefabricated building, which is set far behind the edge of the block. All the more dominant in appearance is the neighbour to the right: a monument-protected commercial building, whose pillar façade is typical for its 1913 year of construction. It is valid to refer back to this corner building — not only in accordance with the requirements of the monument authority, but also in the context of its significant dominance. An insertion or even an adaptation is forbidden per se within the heterogeneous environment. Last but not least, today’s requirements for maximum space utilisation — optimisation —have to be met: two storeys with three flats with a building depth of a considerable 18.75 metres, six full and two staggered storeys, and an underground car park.

The base and roof characterise the building as a townhouse. On the two-storey base, multi-form elements create an unconventional whole. A cladding made of sandstone in two finely graduated shades gives it the appropriate solidity. Geometric surfaces made of combed plaster and with different grain sizes structure the highly insulated plaster façade above. Two bay windows form powerful vertical dominants, which continue and vary the vertical structure of the neighbouring pillar front. Here, the sandstone slabs of the base are picked up as decorative surfaces. The house is completed by two staggered storeys with pitched roofs. They create the balancing act between the optimal utilisation within the clearance areas and refer to an old Berlin construction method—thus, as if an interrupted discussion would be resumed.

While the town house presents itself to the street with a lively structure and varied surface design, to the courtyard it shows an almost functionalist strictness — but here the mixed ensemble demands a powerful setting. By means of a continuous parapet, the numerous balconies are combined into a horizontal entity and create a strong, large form.

The apartments — with two, three, and four rooms — obey the explicit specifications of the client in layout and standard and are between 56 m2 and 136 m2 in size. Due to the height requirements, the base offers the opportunity to develop maisonettes. The living hall, which extends over both floors, is intercepted by small private gardens, while an open staircase leads to the rooms on the upper floor, which in turn are located above the flat, smaller rooms on the street side.

In the interior of the block, the spacious courtyard, which is bordered by a long firewall and a flat technical building of the BVG, holds a surprise. Here is the second of the two buildings, an eight-storey garden house, detached on three sides. The location of the house grants it some freedom from the regulations that the house facing the street has to fulfil; however, the clearance areas and the transformer house are the limiting factors here. So it is conceived as a multi-stepped cubature with an amazing 18-metre depth. All flats in the four-flat storey are optimally aligned with their living space and balcony to the sun, to the north the house is accordingly calm and restrained.

The façades of the garden house are plastered in the same manner as the front building. Sgraffito, combed, and smooth plaster — in its different structure and grain, the skin of the building give a structured surface pattern. Pink quartzite ennobles the open lobby, the haptic area. It rests on slender pillars and is directly aligned with the gateway of the front building on Wallstraße 25.

The design of the foyers is given special attention. In the garden house, the foyer is so large that one can speak of an entrance hall. A three-coloured natural stone floor with a geometric diamond pattern and a painted wooden base — both quotes from another time — walls covered with delicately diagonal lines, a large mirror surface, and a broad band of light below the ceiling characterise the room as elegant, unique. Moreover, in both foyers of the front building, the requisite, beautifully curved staircases attract attention.

 

 

 

 

 

Residential Building Neue Roßstraße, Wallstraße

Berlin, 2012 - 2014

address:
Neue Roßstraße 16-17
Wallstraße 25A
10707 Berlin-Mitte

staff: Volker Gugath, Martin Keckeis, Janine Tillmann

client: Wohnen an der Neue Roßstraße GmbH & Co. Kg

services: HOAI 1 - 5

BGF: 9 842 m2