Flat Renovation in Berlin
This tower-like building on Karl Marx Allee known as “Haus des Kindes” (Children’s House) is a number of stories taller than the structures surrounding it and, paired with the nearly identical “Haus Berlin”, creates a gate to Strausberger Platz. The floor plans of the building – inspired by 1950s Soviet neo-classicism – are based on a uniform grid which does not assign specific uses to the rooms. The client, a musician who travels frequently, wanted to rid herself of unnecessary belongings and was in search of a small, cultivated flat, as immaculate as a hotel suite. She chose the flat in the »Haus des Kindes« because it is on the seventh storey and has a large, south-facing terrace. A small corridor between the storey’s lobby and the terrace was annexed for the flat. The architects’ concept foresaw unifying the middle square, which had consisted of corridor, bathroom and kitchen. All non-structural walls were removed and the existing door openings in the load-bearing, transverse walls were widened to the extent allowed by the structural requirements; a long cabinet now extends through the openings’ centres. This new, door-high element links the three spaces into one large room, but also makes it possible to enclose the spaces. The middle room is divided into a hallway with kitchenette and a bathroom; the two remain linked, however, by a frosted-glass wall which allows daylight to enter and can be backlit at night. Access to the cabinet’s contents is had via numerous flaps, doors and drawers. This element not only offers different types of storage space, but also integrates bathroom devices, appliances, diverse installations, and a number of lighting options. Where the openings in the wall were widened, doors with mirrors mounted on the back side double as spatial definition between the two rooms and the bathroom/hall. The highly specific new object is a foil to the neutral spaces; the contrast is also manifest in their materiality. The exterior is coated in high-gloss pink, the interior matt, deep red. The walls, in contrast, are light grey; the ceilings, windows and reveals were painted white.