David Chipperfield Architects Berlin won a design competition to design a high-rise, office tower in Berlin’s Mitte district. The practice, with its offices in London, Berlin, Milan and Shanghai, was chosen over 12 other entries submitted by unnamed architects.
The 20,000 sqm office has been planned amid a diverse inner-city environment, at Jannowitz Bridge, a traffic junction adjacent to a railway line and the River Spree. The new tower is a part of a new urban ensemble along Holzmarktstrasse, together with an office building, designed by German architectural practice Kuehn Malvezzi.
The 70m tower astutely employs recesses within it, creating spacious green terraces with roof gardens. The use of light coloured brise soleil (sun breakers) aluminium pilasters, in both horizontal and vertical directions, over the translucent façade of the building, provides protection against heat and extreme exposure to the sun. This sun shading system combines practical functions with a unique architectural language, and also creates an interesting visual play of light and shadow, openness and closure.
The compact building volume is designed in a way that the recesses and projections incorporated in it respect and reference its neighbouring structures, and the railway line nearby. The public areas of the structure feature wide, floor to ceiling windows that provide visual relief from an otherwise continuous gridded form.
The ground gradually rises towards the riverbank of the Spree, forming the genesis for the design concept – a flowing transition from the inside to the outside. This is visible in the permeable ground floor, which has an organic public atmosphere. It seamlessly links the outside, urban life with the working environment on the upper floors of the building.
A skybar sits atop the tower, offering spectacular views of Berlin’s vibrant cityscape, and what is even more delightful is that it is open to the public. The modular design offers contemporary and flexible areas, including spacious office cabins and other amenities. These also allow an abundance of daylight, enhancing the well-being of the staff working inside. The design looks into forging an organic dialogue with the city, with its new and dynamic public character seamlessly incorporated within its immediate urban context.