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Rehabilitation of the former Eternit AG guesthouse, Berlin

approx. 255 m2
Oliver Kühn
Markus Funke
Kerstin Köhler

In 1955, Professor Paul Baumgarten built a guesthouse for Eternit AG, in which various Eternit materials were used. Over the course of 50 years, the building became ever more dilapidated, suffered considerable damage, and was in the end basically unrecognizable in its original form. Then, in 2006, it was completely rehabilitated and adapted to modern requirements of insulation and comfort. One priority was to keep it as close as possible to its original condition.
The house is located in charming surroundings on the shore of König Lake in Berlin’s Grunewald neighborhood. The designing of the building involved an adaptation of its different levels to the slope of the lot.
Today, the house is used for living and working. The old asbestos plates used for the outer shell and the interior façades have been carefully removed and replaced by plates resembling their historic predecessors. The copper roof which had been installed later has been replaced by the present 5-rib corrugated plate roof, which matches the original. In the process, the roof was also insulated
One particular challenge was the insulation windows with which the original non-insulated steel frame windows with single glazing were to be replaced. Using a skillful combination of very narrow frames and superimposed profiles with a two-tone color scheme, it was possible to reproduce the original impression of very slender window and door profiles.
The original color scheme was only rediscovered by a commissioning a restoration expert’s report on the condition of the building. Under the original spatial design, various different color themes were assigned to the various residential areas. While the lower residential area was painted uniformly in light colors, Baumgarten selected expressive colors for the guestrooms, and used them to lead visitors into the upper stories right from the entry area. Not only the color scheme of the interior, but also the blue of the smooth façade plate in the exterior area has been restored.