David Chipperfield Architects . photos: © Simon Menges
The site of the former Bötzow Brewery is situated within walking distance of Berlin’s Alexanderplatz and Friedrichshain public park. Since its initial opening in 1885,
the Bötzow family attached great importance to the running of a modern brewery. This is reflected in the co-existence of the representative production yard together with a public beer garden, which became a popular destination for excursions. Following numerous extensions and conversions, the grounds were damaged in parts during World War II, the entrepreneur’s villa and serving building were completely eradicated. The Bötzow ensemble was left extensively derelict for decades and was listed as a protected site in 1990.
The masterplan for the site transforms the Bötzow Brewery into a public destination within the city fabric again. The existing buildings have been refurbished in close cooperation with the heritage authorities to accommodate their new functions. The evolution of the complex and the essential characteristics of Prussian industrial architecture as well as an evaluation of the extended building elements have played a prominent role in this transformation. The historic vaults that establish the impressive underground foundations of the former brewery are linked at selected points with the world above, while the mysterious atmosphere below remains intact. The focus of all renovation measures was to highlight and preserve the identity of the ensemble. Traces from usage over the course of time have been preserved. The existing building fabric was maintained to the greatest extent possible, and non- functioning elements were repaired instead of being replaced. This approach not only makes sense ecologically – it saves resources and avoids waste – but also brings economic benefits.
Seven existing buildings have adopted new functions and have been completed
in 2021. The Future Lab of the medical technology company Ottobock provides
a pioneering location for future digital developments. This link between entrepreneurship and public life perpetuates the tradition of the brewery site. The other areas were predominantly transformed into co-working spaces. The former brewery basement and further cellars accommodate fitness and wellness facilities. Where the original open-air garden was once situated, the grounds now open up to the city with a new, expansive beer garden. The natural topography of the site creates an intriguing spatial sequence towards the central square located to the rear of the beer garden.
The masterplan for the site also encompasses four new buildings, which make reference in their placement to the former ensemble, and an underground car park. A restaurant building will be located in the beer garden, two new buildings will provide further co-working areas and a residential and office building will be built in the entrance area at Prenzlauer Allee.