Berlin Tallest Skyscraper
Frank Gehry and his firm have been entitled as the winner of the competition to design a skyscraper for Berlin in Germany. He has been chosen from eight other invited, shortlisted firms including Adjaye Associates and David Chipperfield Architects. The building is expected to be Berlin’s tallest skyscraper and Germany’s tallest residential building at the same time.
This is going to be 150 metre (492ft) building on Alexanderplatz having 39 floors, with about 300 apartments, restaurants, a hotel and a spa. The exterior will be stone cladding. It will cost 25 million euros approximately.
The large square in the former eastern sector of the German capital is surrounded by Soviet-era shopping malls, multi-lane roads and train tracks where up to 20 more buildings are scheduled or under construction. Proposed for a site between Hackescher Markt, Friedrichshain and Berlin-Mitte, the building is conceived as a cluster of distorted cuboids that have been rotated away from one another to relate to some of the city’s main focal points, particularly the nearby Karl-Marx-Allee.
One of the judges in the competition, 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”.
This will be the third time that Gehry has collaborated with Hines. The firm was his client for the DZ Bank in Berlin and acted as a development manager for his New World Center in Miami Beach. “The quality of the designs submitted was extremely high and reflected the importance of this prominent location in the center of Berlin”, commented Christoph Reschke, one of Hines’ managing directors. “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”, he added.
However the design is receiving a great deal of criticism and doubt, the critics and the authority fear that the 150 meter high building can be too heavy for the surrounding structures along with the whole site. The German edition of the Local is reporting that Berlin’s Senate has placed the plans on hold because of the building’s proximity to the U5 branch of the U-Bahn tunnel, which it fears could be crushed under the weight.
Berlin’s transport authority BVG is also worried about the construction of the building, asking for clarification on whether they could run trains through the tunnel during construction. Developer Hines Property Group has responded by commissioning a survey of the area to establish what effect the building will have on its site in Alexanderplatz and on the U5 Tunnel.
Inspite of this unexpected feedback, Hines remains confident that the scheme will go ahead as planned, saying that they are “heading in the right direction and are confident that a decision will be made soon”.
Project: Berlin Tallest Skyscraper
Architect: Frank Gehry, Gehry Partners
Location: Berlin, Germany
Construction Period: Future project
Owner/ Operator: Hines Property Group