Procedure Eighteen architectural firms participated in the international non-open competition for the new 50Hertz Netzquartier in Berlin. The initial phase yielded two finalists, LOVE architecture and urbanism and the Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects, with the LOVE design ultimately prevailing. The other competitors included NO.MAD Arquitectos (Madrid), Sauerbruch Hutton (Berlin), Hadi Teherani Architects (Hamburg), Kleihues + Kleihues (Berlin), Müller Reimann (Berlin). Location The site is particularly noteworthy due to its prominent location in Berlin’s inner city: the adjacent “Kultur-Campus” is currently being developed with the existing Museum of contemporary art in the Hamburg train station. The site is also within close proximity of: the main train station, which is the most important public long-distance and local transportation hub in Berlin; the parliament and government district, which stretches along the Spreebogen and includes the Federal Chancellery, the German Bundestag, and the Reichstag; and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which is currently under construction. Building concept The future “50Hertz Netzquartier” is a delicate building which incorporates the highly volumetric language of the master plan and reflects it in an overlay of different structures, consisting of the exterior supporting system (net), the horizontal rhythm of the floor levels and the interior yellow cores and staircases. They guide the view into the depth and lead to a dematerialization of the building. Thus, the new Netzquartier is released from the thought that this is a conventional office building and highlights its holistic sculptural approach. At night, this is additionally accentuated by the lighting of the staircases and the individual pillars.
Flexible office landscape The working culture of the 50Hertz energy provider is based on a firm belief in the productive potential of informal, flexible and creative working. To meet the demands of such a philosophy, a working space must combine the practical needs of the business world with a sensuous, energetic element – something diverse and stimulating. This calls for an office environment that offers a dynamic interplay of concentration, interaction and relaxation. The resulting design offers a physical working environment that supports the transition to a more open corporate culture founded on the principles of dialogue and teamwork.
Offsetting individual façade elements toward the building’s center augments the simple, flexible basic structure (total GFA=24,000 m2)with a variety of open spaces that fluidly merge the interior and the exterior. These variable-sized gardens provide informal outdoor communication spaces (e.g. for outdoor meetings, brainstorming) and also serves as fresh-air recreation spaces for unwinding faster after tiring meetings. The deep building traversed by outdoor workspaces enables the creation of a wide variety of office layouts, each of which offers a different solution for the demands of workflow, job quality and working atmosphere. Each layout features a different blend of working areas, informal communication zones and garden zones (outdoor workspaces), which results in a wide variety of unique working environments. Thus, the occupants of each floor or department can tailor the working environment to their specific needs or desires. The individual levels of the building are connected by central atriums, which penetrate the building conically, both physically (i.e. via staircases) and visually (i.e. via natural light), thereby making the building a homogenous, multi-level whole.