barkow leibinger has completed an unusually shaped residential property, situated within a secluded berlin courtyard. located in the city’s prenzlauer berg neighborhood, the dwelling features a steep roofline that makes the building appear more like a pyramid than a cube. clad with multi-colored bricks, the structure uses irregularly proportioned windows to reference the history of the city’s inner courtyards, which were often given over to industrial use.

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the scheme is situated within a secluded berlin courtyard
image © simon menges (main image © laurian ghinitoiu)

 

 

barkow leibinger’s scheme is the result of tight planning constraints and historic preservation conditions. ‘used creatively as design tools, these restrictions led to a building that seems at the same time both familiar and strange, capable of blending into its surroundings while maintaining a strong independent character’, explain the architects. initially, the new building followed the cubature of the former structure, which had been destroyed during the second world war. however, this was rejected by the city in light of setback regulations.

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the steep roofline makes the building appear more like a pyramid than a cube
image © simon menges

 

 

the solution involved creating a sloping roof that stretched over three storeys to the building’s upper edge. here, at a height of 18 meters (59 feet), a roof terrace is found at the pyramid’s peak. the form also satisfies the distance requirements between the building and the three neighboring plots. entirely clad in brick, the monolithic façade references the colors of the surrounding façades, with six different tones applied in an uneven pattern.

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the structure uses large windows to reference the industrial history of the city’s inner courtyards
image © simon menges

 

 

irregularly positioned windows, framed with polished anodized aluminum, have been placed to loosen the building’s strict geometry. ‘where the new construction meets the adjacent buildings, the windows orient themselves according to the sizes and proportions of those of its neighbors, eventually shifting with growing distance into square and horizontal formats,’ says the design team.

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the building contains two residential units organized as multi-level apartments
image © simon menges

 

 

internally, the building contains two residential units organized as multi-level apartments. the lower unit, which measures approximately 250 square meters (2,690 square feet), includes a ground-level living room that opens to a private courtyard garden, with bedrooms situated on the storey above floor. the slightly smaller upper apartment, comprises two living levels, one storey for sleeping, and a roof terrace.

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the lower unit includes a ground-level living room
image © simon menges

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the internal stairs of the living spaces are compactly condensed towards the firewall
image © simon menges

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the upper apartment has inclined walls
image © simon menges

barkow-leibinger-apartment-house-prenzlauer-berg-berlin-germany-designboom-02
at a height of 18 meters, a roof terrace is found at the pyramid’s peak
image © simon menges

barkow-leibinger-apartment-house-prenzlauer-berg-berlin-germany-designboom-02
the scheme is the result of tight planning constraints
image © simon menges

barkow-leibinger-apartment-house-prenzlauer-berg-berlin-germany-designboom-02
the monolithic façade references the colors of the surrounding buildings
image © simon menges

barkow-leibinger-apartment-house-prenzlauer-berg-berlin-germany-designboom-02
six different tones of brick have been applied in an uneven pattern
image © simon menges

barkow-leibinger-apartment-house-prenzlauer-berg-berlin-germany-designboom-14
irregularly positioned windows have been placed to loosen the building’s strict geometry
image © laurian ghinitoiu

 

 

project info:

 

location: berlin, germany
gross floor area: 870 sqm / 9,365 sqf
construction: january 2015 – july 2016
program: housing
architect: barkow leibinger (frank barkow, regine leibinger)
team: andreas lang (project architect), antje steckhan, martina bauer, marian beschoner
client: private
photography: simon menges, laurian ghinitoiu
drawings: barkow leibinger, berlin, germany

 

procurement and construction management: BAL bauplanungs und steuerungs GmbH, berlin, germany
structural engineer: HHT-bauingenieure ingeniurgemeinschaft für tragwerksplanung + baukonstruktion GbR, berlin, germany
energy design: müller-BBM GmbH, berlin, deutschland
HVAC, electrical engineering: HDH GmbH, berlin, germany
façade engineering: dipl.-ing. (TU) karl hügerich GmbH, berlin, germany
brick company: janhsen bau GmbH, herford, germany
brick manufacturer: GOLEM kunst- und baukeramik GmbH, jacobsdorf OT sieversdorf, germany
metal works: assmann & klasen GmbH & co. KG, rüdersdorf bei berlin, germany

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