In late summer 2019, two residential buildings were completed on the north bank of the River Spree in Berlin’s Osthafen between the districts of Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Treptow. The concept for the new buildings derives from the particular qualities of its waterside location.
Project Name: Wave
Studio Name: Graft
Location: Stralauer Allee 13/14, 10245 Berlin, Germany
Project: New construction of two residential buildings
Time: 2016 – 2019
Usable floor area: 13,000 m²
Gross floor area: 16,000 m²
Number of units: 161
Client: Bauwerk Capital GmbH + Co. KG
The design for the ensemble provides public access to the riverside zone along the Spree. “Wave” not only incorporates the waterfront path, but also orients the building to the south overlooking the water with spacious courtyard gardens and yacht-like balconies. By facing out over the water towards the iconic “Molecule Men” landmark, it avoids the typical inward-looking hermetic privacy of many projects. At its centre, the riverside path widens to form a small square together with gardens and a jetty alongside the Spreepromenade.
By not building along the waterfront and pairing the inner side wings, the two buildings form a continuous architectural figure. The elongated facade frontage ensures that each apartment has a view over the water and sun from the south.
The soft curving lines of the south-facing elevation give the facade a sculptural, eroded amorphous figure that echoes the narrative qualities of its waterside location in the building’s fluid architectural form. The design of the ensemble springs from this conceptual idea as well as its accommodation of the social requirements of the neighbourhood.
The north facing elevation presents a contrasting facade to the urban grain of the quarter that picks up the clear rectangular geometry of the turn-of-the-century Gründerzeit buildings along the Stralauer Allee. Bay windows to the north enhance the apartments’ floor plans and afford views of Berlin’s iconic Fernsehturm. The resulting geometric articulation of the facade mediates between the urban street facade and the open, sculptural quality of the waterfront.
The two residential buildings incorporate a range of apartment types and sizes to create a stimulating and diverse social mix appropriate to the potential target groups and the location. Alongside studio and 1½ room apartments at sizes of 27 m² to 40 m², there are also 2-5 room apartments with floor areas ranging from 44 m² to 156 m². Apartments with private gardens are located on the mezzanine level, with luxury 206 to 296 m² penthouses with own private roof gardens on the top floor. The majority of apartments have bay windows and balconies facing in different directions.
The roof is conceived as a “fifth facade” for communal use with rooftop allotment gardens, terraces and playgrounds for both public and private-communal activities. The green courtyard gardens in the communal forecourt adjoining the waterside promenade create an open, green space in the heart of the city in which residents and neighbours can come together.
Architects: GRAFT Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH I www.graftlab.com Heidestraße 50, 10557 Berlin
Founding partners: Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz, Thomas Willemeit Project design: Marvin Bratke, Arne Wegner
Project lead: Annette Finke, Sven Fuchs
Project team: Alexandra Bunescu, Evgenia Dimopoulou, Clemens Hochreiter, Christine Huber, Sascha Krückeberg, Javier Nieto Cano, Andrea Perle, Matthias Rümmele, Elena Suarez, Alexandra Tobescu, Maike Wienmeier, Anna Wittwer
GRAFT was established in 1998 in Los Angeles, California, by Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz and Thomas Willemeit. Further offices followed in Berlin, Germany, in 2001 and Beijing, China, in 2004. In 2018, GRAFT expanded its management team, welcoming Sven Fuchs, Dennis Hawner and Georg Schmidthals as new partners.
GRAFT is conceived as a studio for architecture, urban planning, design, music and the pursuit of happiness. Since its establishment, it has been commissioned to design and manage a wide range of projects across multiple disciplines and in numerous locations. Although the company’s core enterprises gravitate around the field of architecture and the built environment, GRAFT has always maintained an interest in crossing the boundaries between disciplines and “grafting” the creative potential and methodologies of different realities. This is reflected in its expansion into the fields of exhibition and product design, art installations and academic projects, as well as in their variety of project locations around the world. GRAFT’s collective professional experience encompasses a wide range of building types, including residential, cultural, educational, institutional, commercial, master plan and healthcare projects. GRAFT has won numerous international awards, and now numbers some 150 members of staff from over 20 nations.
Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz and Thomas Willemeit have held several guest professorships in the USA and Germany and are members of the expert team of the Zukunftsinstitut think tank.
In 2007, together with Brad Pitt, Bill McDonough and the Cherokee Foundation, GRAFT established the Make It Right Foundation, whose objective was the rebuilding of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina.
GRAFT’s self-initiated projects also include SOLARKIOSK, a company founded with the German lawyer Andreas Spieß in 2009 to bring clean energy, connectivity and solar products to rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa. And, in 2015, GRAFT co-founded Heimat2 with H. W. Pausch, Sven Rawe and Dr. Gerd Ellinghaus, which aims to bring dignified housing solutions to refugees in Europe.
In 2014, in collaboration with branding expert Linda Stannieder, GRAFT’s founding partners set up the GRAFT Brandlab agency, enabling an additional focus on communication design, brand strategy and consultancy while staying true to GRAFT’s multidisciplinary approach and working methods. Through progressive brand innovation concepts and a multidimensional approach, the agency places greater focus on enriching the interface between digital and physical brand experiences within constantly evolving markets and cultures. Today, the agency is led by Nikolaus Hafermaas and Rico Zocher.