|Design Prize of the Wuestenrot Foundation Acknowledgment
Modernisation Award, a distinguished national building award for projects of
“High Quality / Acceptable Costs”
Transforming a former factory site into a building constituent in the city was the design brief for the Sophie-Gips-Höfe in Berlin. Following an innovative concept of use a new public space has been created in the very heart of the new city district of Berlin-Mitte, which closely links the old with the new and, particularly, urban professional life with private life. Here, a 2.500 square metre large penthouse gallery hosting the important collection of modern art owned by the artists couple Erika and Rolf Hartmann has been created as well as a new passage running through the entire block accommodating galleries, restaurants, loft apartments, media offices and a radio station. The strategy was to preserve the historic traces of this grade listed building ensemble consisting of three industrial courtyards and to enrich it with the addition of contemporary structures to be embedded in the existing one in order to strengthen it. The old factory levels still bear the marks of intensive use, the iron and concrete supporting structure has been accentuated with white paint.
The art collectors’ penthouse gallery is a roof extension, a concourse of light-weight steel and glass structures stretching the whole length of the courtyards. It is sensitively attached to the old industrial building and offers a charming panoramic view across Berlin’s rooftops. A contemporary house with spacious flats and a new white sculpture displayed in its courtyard closes the site towards Gipsstraße. Like all the other areas in these courtyards it adheres to an integral concept especially developed by various artists.