There is a new urban quarter emerging on Paul Gerhardt Allee with apartments, stores and office space. As the quarter’s principal shopping area complete with the main square out front, this residential and commercial property enjoys a unique urban setting. The primary ambitions of the new build are to highlight the way into the quarter at its western edge, to act as a stabilizing element for the surrounding buildings and to reflect the different features of this multi-purpose urban landmark in a straightforward and intuitive way.
With bright white exteriors throughout, this residential and commercial building has an ethereal, elegant appearance, while the layout is distinctive and differentiated. There are three polygonal structures resting on a ground-floor pedestal that covers the entire footprint. Seen from Paul Gerhardt Allee, the tallest of the three structures acts as an eye-catching and welcoming gateway to the new neighborhood. The other two are offset from one another and staggered in height. The resulting tectonic mix mediates between the contours of the legacy architecture and the neighboring new builds, creating a balanced effect. The shops, restaurants and local amenities will all be located in the ground-floor pedestal, which is accessible from the shared vestibule or directly from the main square. On the floor above, and therefore separate from the commercial, public zones, are the entrances to the roughly 160 residential units housed in the upper blocks. Most of the apartments have an east-west orientation, with the larger of the units facing both sides, and spacious terraces that increase the apartments’ appeal. A semi-public exterior staircase leads to the rooftop terrace above the ground floor, where there is extensive landscaping as well as a variety of recreational and play areas. This roof garden, enclosed by a white pergola, is a shared space for all residents.
The variable façade grid superimposed across the different buildings makes for a striking overall effect. There are folded metal screens incorporated into the grid, some of which are solid and others perforated, some stationery and others retractable. This gives all three high-rises on the pedestal a different appearance depending on your vantage point, presenting as transparent and then more solid. At the same time, residents can adjust the views into and out of the apartments themselves using the retractable screens.