Gehry Partners has won an architectural competition for a new 300-unit residential tower in Berlin. The development, which is owned by Hines, will be located at the D4 construction site between Hackescher Markt, Friedrichshain and Berlin-Mitte, adjacent to Hines’ recently developed Die Mitte retail building. As Berlin’s first new high-rise residential development since the ‘70s, the project will rise to a maximum height of 492 feet, likely becoming the tallest building in Berlin and the tallest residential building of all Germany. It will contain approximately 500,000 ft², will include small apartments and penthouses, and a portion of the tower will house a hotel.
This project represents the third time Hines has worked with this internationally acclaimed architecture firm. Gehry also designed Hines’ DZ Bank in Berlin and the New World Center in Miami Beach, FL, for which Hines served as development manager.
In order to find the best possible urban and architectural design solution for this important location, Hines, under an agreement with the Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment as well as the Berlin-Mitte District Council, invited nine national and international architects to take part in an architectural competition in May 2013. Participants were Adjaye Associates (London, UK); Architectonica (Miami, USA); Barkow Leibinger Architects (Berlin, GER); BE Berlin (Berlin, GER); David Chipperfield Architects (London/Berlin, UK/GER); Gehry Partners, LLP (Santa Monica, USA); Ingenhoven Architects (Dusseldorf, GER); Kleihues + Kleihues Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH (Berlin, GER); and Prof. Kollhof Generalplanungs-GmbH (Berlin, GER).
Following the first assessment in November 2013, four firms – Barkow Leibinger Architects, Gehry Partners, Ingenhoven Architects and Kleihues + Kleihues – were asked to refine their designs for a second and final phase of the competition.
On January 23, 2014, a panel of judges decided on the architectural and urban design qualities of the submissions. The panel, chaired by Prof. Peter P. Schweger, included, among others: Regula Lüscher, Senate Building Director; Kristina Laduch, Head of the City Planning Department Berlin-Mitte; and Christoph Reschke and Alexander Möll, co-managing directors of Hines Immobilien GmbH.
Reschke explains, “The quality of the designs submitted was extremely high and reflected the importance of this prominent location in the center of Berlin. This place has a strong symbolic character and will develop into a metropolitan residential and retail area. In order to transform the square, we want to take a chance on something new and exceptional.”
The experts came to the conclusion that Gehry Partners’ solution was the most compelling for this central location. The winning design convinced the jury with its sculptural interpretation, achieved by rotating a number of cubes that relate to many of the city’s focal points – in particular the neighboring Karl-Marx-Allee. With its exceptional form, the building develops a completely new architectural language. In addition, the jury was enthusiastic about the harmonious design of the elevations and the stone used for the building facades.
Regula Lüscher, Senate Building Director, commented, “Gehry’s design is strong in visual expression and introduces an unusually eccentric, new pattern for this location. Nevertheless, the façade radiates agreeable tranquility. In addition, the design blends well with the neighborhood and conveys all aspects of metropolitan living.”