New building in Berlin: vertical city for Kreuzberg – culture

The skyscraper to be built on Schöneberger Strasse in Kreuzberg will have 29 floors. As if that wasn’t a surprise enough in Berlin, traditionally skeptical of skyscrapers, it too has to be built of wood. To be more precise: as a hybrid wood construction, because the core of the building with the stairs and elevators is cast in concrete in accordance with local fire regulations. The individual floors, on the other hand, must be in wood, from the ceiling beams to the facade, possibly in local wood.

The building with the acronym “Woho” – for residential skyscraper – was designed by the Norwegian studio MAD Arkitekter. The team is not entirely Norwegian, they have a Berlin history. It is here that the three architects Kurt Singstad, Trond Elverum and Nicolai Riise met in 1997; they now have offices in four different cities based in Oslo. Berlin’s “Woho” came out victorious from a competition, but that was a full year ago. Building in Berlin is difficult.

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In the Aedes Architekturforum am Pfefferberg, MAD architects present the range of their projects for the first time. Four have been selected as examples and each has their own brochure, a first for the gallery with its iconic catalogs in square format. The first bears the beautiful name “Festitiviteten” and it is precisely this, a festival hall in the small Norwegian town of Larvik, which has been expanded to become the social center of the town of nearly 50,000 inhabitants. Built in 1874, an extensive restoration faithful to the monument was required, but at the same time the installation of a gastronomy on the ground floor, above which stands the two-story ballroom.

MAD architects take sustainability and the neighborhood seriously

Another project focuses on the “reuse” of a 1950s building in Oslo. In MAD Arkitekter, sustainability is not just an empty phrase, but manifests itself in supposed little things, such as the processing of materials that have already been used by this and other construction projects. An impressive new construction project with 16,000 square meters of floor space, in which the office is not only constructing a building, but is also thinking very precisely about a “residential neighborhood” which, for example in the form of small businesses and shops , will occupy the ground floor of the 90 per cent “green” residential complex claimed.

And then “Woho”. The architects describe the whole as a “fully functioning small town” and as a “vertical interpretation of the typical Kreuzberg block”. At the time of the IBA in the 1980s, the “Kreuzberg Blend” was a kind of battle cry against the functionally separate buildings of international modernism.

The skyscraper consists of four staggered structures

The “Woho” will have a base area varying between six and nine floors, which will extend to the Schöneberger Straße construction line, while the current skyscraper, which measures 98 meters, rises approximately in the center of the whole. It consists of four slightly staggered buildings that accommodate different forms of life: the social mix is ​​at the top of the building program and was one of the factors in winning the competition.

The detailed list of small public sector firms presented by the architects raises the anxious question of whether this ideal mix can actually be achieved under market conditions. Likewise, it is experimental to have the third of the four “boxes” for condominiums, between box two for public housing and the top box for the “cooperative”.

The prefabricated modules also include a winter garden

The building is built on a three meter grid. This allows you to use prefabricated modules for the facade; nine different versions are available for this, including those with drinking troughs or even a winter garden module. The renderings, which the MAD office has shown unchanged for a year now, offer a picture of the rich facade and the greening of the roof.

[Aedes Architekturforum, Christinenstr. 18-19 (Pfefferberg), bis 10. März.]

Everything is thought out down to the last detail. Whether future residents will adhere to these guidelines remains the big unknown. The project seems to lack a certain solidity to survive in an everyday life not always characterized by noble thoughts of sustainability and circular economy. But it’s always worth a try.

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