The winner of the two-stage urban planning competition for the new Berlin quarter Am Humboldthain (QAH) has been decided. The design of the Danish architectural firm “Cobe” was awarded first place by the jury on 12 August and is now being shown to the public. The joint design from “Ortner & Ortner Baukunst” and “capattistaubach urbane landschaften” came in second place; the work of “Robertneun TM GmbH” and “Atelier Loidl Landschaftsarchitekten GmbH” was awarded third place.
In mid-March, 20 renowned architectural firms submitted their plans to redesign the six and a half hectare site Am Humboldthain in Berlin Mitte as part of the first stage of the competition. The firms were tasked with finding innovative urban planning solutions for the former production area of AEG. The designs of the eight winning firms were then further elaborated in the second stage of the competition.
Green neighborhood park as central site
The winning design has a strong landscaping approach. It envisages a development of predominantly five to eight-storey rows of buildings with elevations around a central green neighborhood park. The park is intended to be a recreational space and the “green lungs” of the area. Gustav-Meyer-Allee is dominated by somewhat smaller buildings around an elevation that marks the entrance to the neighborhood. The height design is derived from the surrounding existing buildings. A central forecourt including a slender elevation links the green neighborhood park with the nearby Humboldthain.
The development includes roof areas for solar panels and extensive green roofs with, for example, communal and sports areas. A central retention basin that always carries water to quartier-humboldthain.berlin as well as open infiltration areas are part of the elaborate rainwater concept.
The neighborhood, which was previously closed off, is to be transformed into a modern, environmentally-friendly urban development open to everyone. With this in mind, the site is also to become a symbol of a city of short distances. The winning design plans to expand the existing route network by two east-west axes and create connections to the existing network in the south and east beyond the competition area. The proposed opening in the direction of Brunnenstraße provides an extensive east-west connection for the neighborhood, which will be accessible to the public in the future.
Prof. Anett-Maud Joppien, expert juror and board member of Dietz Joppien Architekten, explains the jury’s decision: “The design is characterized by a precise and contextually motivated urban setting with clear designs. The concept is simultaneously flexible and open to future adjustments. The green neighborhood square as a central location has an exceptional and spacious design and, not least, improves the local microclimate.”
Dan Stubbergaard, founder and owner of “Cobe” is responsible for the winning design. He gives his view on winning the competition: “We’re incredibly proud that Cobe can continue to write the history of the old AEG plant in Berlin, whilst being bold and respectful. We’re further developing the flexible and smart production sites and workplaces in the spirit of Behrens, and we’re opening up the neighborhood to all Berliners with a new central park. The synergy of tradition and future, city and nature as well as production and research makes the Am Humboldthain neighborhood a true place of the future for all of Berlin.”
Open mix of uses, new opportunities for research and production
The QAH is to become a place of the future, which will be developed in an urban planning and architectural context for the entire city. As the largest inner-city neighborhood development of its kind in Berlin, the QAH surrounded by the historical AEG buildings has the special potential to rethink a thoroughly commercial, open mix of uses in a flexible structure.
As part of the program, the QAH will expand the Technologiepark Humboldthain (TPH), where the Wedding Campus of TU Berlin and the Fraunhofer IZM are located. Space will also be offered for small and medium-sized production-based businesses. The declared aim of the urban design is to enable a variety of qualities of a commercial neighborhood in daily use and at the same time create attractive, public places.
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