In the former center of West Berlin, a few steps from the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin’s biggest shopping mall will be built in the triangle between Kurfürstendamm, Augsburgerstrasse, and Rankestrasse. An invited, international architectural competition, won by HHF Architects, was held for the design of the facades of the seven-lot perimeter block. The winning design proposes seven distinctive glass facades that are evocative of traditional punched window facades.
The starting point for the design is the fact that the spatial disposition of the sales areas has no relationship whatsoever to the facades and the layout within the building must be capable of being changed at any time. HHF solves this challenge with a transparent curtain wall skin of vertical and horizontal glass blocks. The varied facades articulate the individual buildings in such a way that the underlying building structure can be discerned from the outside, yet its design takes only limited account of the internal organization. The project embraces the rhythm of typical Berlin stone facades and unifies the originally subdivided perimeter block of the mall into a larger whole without completely eliminating the original demarcation between buildings.
The facades technically consist of an inner and an outer skin, which permit both controlled and uncontrolled views of the inner workings of the building. Together, the two layers act as a unit that conveys daylight from outside to inside and, at night, transports lighting moods from inside to outside. The individual parts of the building are thus given a basic visual structure that results from the superposition of internal and external requirements.
In addition, the formerly independent buildings are joined by the roof garden, which is in part publicly accessible and was likewise designed by HHF, and by a central courtyard. The courtyard has several curved terraces. Its slightly reflective ceramic facade echoes the theme of the glass blocks.
The project encompasses not only the redesign of all the facades, but also the renovation of the 1957 office building on Rankestrasse that was originally built by the architects Paul Schwebes and Hans Schoszberger. In addition to being refurbished, the building will also receive two new entrances on the front, leading to the shopping center behind. Despite this link to the ground floor of the mall, the building’s original structure and surfaces are largely preserved. In the courtyard, a delicate new glass facade is set in front of the existing building. It will give the publicly accessible courtyard a uniform visual identity and reflect the curved facade on the opposite side of the courtyard.