Office Tower in Berlin
With the rehabilitation of this former works site, a new development has been created on one of the largest derelict industrial areas in Berlin. “Oberbaum City”, as it is known, comprises offices, housing and commercial properties. The existing listed buildings erected between 1903 and 1908 were initially used by the Osramcompany and later by the East German Narva light-bulb organization, which was dissolved after the reunification of the country. In the comprehensive programme of refurbishment and conversion undertaken by the Hamburg architects Schweger + Partner, some of the buildings had to be gutted to remove the mercury – used in the production of light bulbs – that had accumulated there. The ensemble now consists of three buildings: a new structure that follows the plan forms of the existing development; a refurbished building, the facades of which underwent extensive restoration; and a tower, which has been raised in height by five storeys. The new Narva Tower, with an overall height of 63 m, is 24 m taller than the former brick building. All that remained of the old tower were the outer walls. The new five-floor glazed volume on top is separated from the existing structure by a storey-height void and is crowned by a services floor. The head of the tower was constructed with a double-skin facade that allows natural air conditioning of the office spaces. The external layer of glazing is closed; the windows in the inner facade, however, can be opened. Atnight, fresh air flows from the facade space into the offices via the ventilation openings. Ona clear day, the rooms at the top of the tower enjoy a view from the centre of Berlin tothe outskirts of the city. The surrounding works halls have been converted into modern office lofts. More than DM 1 billion has now been invested in the entire site. The new occupants of Oberbaum City are mainly Internet companies and firms from the field of creative design. According to plans, the complex will accommodate some 6,000 new workplaces – space for roughly the same number of people as once worked there in the light-bulb plant.