HAUS 1, the most recent addition to the renowned Atelier Gardens masterplan in Berlin, has reached the final stage of its sustainable renovation. Collaborating with Hirschmüller Schindele Architekten, MVRDV has successfully revitalized an outdated office building from the 1990s, transforming it into a striking landmark at the entrance of the site. The building now boasts a vibrant yellow exterior, complemented by a newly installed living roof. Additionally, a sustainable timber rooftop pavilion and terrace have been added, providing access through an impressive external staircase.
HAUS 1, the second project completed by MVRDV within Atelier Gardens, is situated at the southern edge of Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport. This project is part of the larger masterplan to transform the campus of the Berliner Union Film Ateliers (BUFA) and expand its user base beyond filmmakers. The aim is to include various “change makers” such as impact organizations and individuals focused on climate activism and social justice.
The masterplan, designed for Fabrix, a London-based investor and developer, covers a 23,800-square-meter campus. It has been recognized for its excellence in urban regeneration, receiving the MIPIM Award for Best Urban Regeneration earlier this year. The approach taken in this masterplan is to work with the existing structures rather than demolishing them. By doing so, the buildings are refreshed while the potential of the spaces between them is maximized. Each building transformation is considered as a response to the previous ones, creating a cohesive and incremental approach.
In addition to the building renovations, the masterplan also includes an ecologically focused landscape designed by Harris Bugg Studio. This landscape design aims to enhance sustainability by removing large areas of impermeable paving, reducing vehicle movements, and increasing water permeability and biodiversity. Notably, HAUS 1 features a new living roof, along with green plazas, contributing to the overall ecological focus of the project.
While MVRDV’s first project on site, TON 1, required a sensitive renovation, HAUS 1 called for a bolder touch. Originally built in 1997, the office building contributed little to the character of the campus. Given its location next to the entrance of Atelier Gardens, as well as height that makes it visible from the former airfield of Tempelhof, the decision was made to transform the building into an iconic presence on the neighbouring Oberlandstraße and an emblematic symbol of the transformation of the BUFA campus.“The newly transformed HAUS 1 is more than a gateway to this unique campus devoted to impact,” says MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs. “It is a representation of the Atelier Gardens community and their commitment to chart a different vision of society – one that’s optimistic, yet radical and innovative. With this second project in our masterplan, we join them on this mission and invite more people to follow.”
The building’s transformation is immediately noticeable through its vibrant yellow color, replacing its previous plain white facade. This new color scheme draws attention to the campus from both near and far. Upon entering the campus, visitors are greeted with a zig-zagging yellow stair-scape leading to the roof of HAUS 1, providing a panoramic view of Berlin’s urban landscape and Tempelhofer Feld. The building has also been extended with a timber pavilion made of bio-based materials and healthy finishes, including a clay ceiling. The newly accessible rooftop is now adorned with native plants, serving as a rainwater collection system. The building’s green landscaping, new roof insulation, and sun shades on its glass facades improve its climate resilience, while low-temperature underfloor heating moderates the indoor climate. The building’s lighting has been converted to energy-efficient LED systems, and its sanitary fittings are all water-efficient, including low water-use WCs flushed with recycled rainwater.
HAUS 1 will internally accommodate versatile work and meeting areas spread across four levels, encompassing the main office of Atelier Gardens and a café. The architectural layout has been modified to optimize the adaptability of the building, facilitating future modifications in purpose or arrangement and consequently prolonging its lifespan. By emphasizing the reuse of existing structure and prioritizing the utilization of durable, recyclable materials with minimal environmental impact whenever new resources were necessary, HAUS 1 exemplifies how architectural conversions can achieve greater efficiency with fewer resources.
“Atelier Gardens is a model for bringing purpose in line with future-proofed profit. In just a few years we have broadened the use of the campus from film and media to a diverse community of progressive impact organisations,” notes Clive Nichol, Managing Partner of Fabrix. “This shift has diversified the income profile, giving the campus permanent life, in contrast to the coming-and-going of film productions and technological risk. Means-tested rent allows high-quality space to be provided more cheaply to start-ups, activist groups and NGOs, while established companies, who want to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of co-locating, are charged more. It’s a resilient model which we believe sets a new standard for the future of mixed-use campuses.”
The Atelier Gardens masterplan and its accompanying buildings in London are being designed by MVRDV for Fabrix, a property investor and developer based in the city. The architectural designs were created in partnership with Hirschmüller Schindele Architekten, a local co-architect, while the landscape design for the masterplan was developed by Harris Bugg Studio, a design firm also based in London.
Image courtesy of Schnepp Renou