Building community Kurfürstenstrasse

The structure of the 25 units residential building for a budiling group consists of six towers with facades parallel to the surrounding streets. The towers overlap vertically and horizontally, with floors interlaced like fingers. While they vary in square meters, each unit consists of one double-high space passing through the building, with windows facing both the public street and the private courtyard. Except for bathroom enclosures, there are no interior walls. Therefore, privacy or connection stems from the organisation of corners, levels, and sight-lines. Most apartments have four adjacent neighbors and, where the units interlink, lower-height spaces are formed. The overlap can belong to either adjoining apartment, creating rooms for either or in between rooms. There are no clear boundaries between units and no hallways–therefore, the living space can be seen and used as one continuum. As such, there are potentially infinite ways of traveling through the building and, because the units merge. The structure calls for a rethinking of current definitions of community. In this way, the whole building has the potential to be opened, each space connected with several others, allowing residents to choose when, what, and with whom to share their lives. The architecture does not enforce cohabitation nor sharing. Rather, the structure’s flexibility allows residents to create their private and shared spaces according to their own needs. The intersecting lower areas can potentially be shared between neighbors – as a guest room, home cinema, music room, kitchen, and so on. Residents are invited to renegotiate the traditional boundaries between themselves and their neighbors – and to venture opening new public space for shared interests. The goal is for the building to find new ways of merging and meeting, challenging residents to use the space in new and different ways. This enables new relationships on a small but significant level to arise at each threshold. These overlaps are not a symbolic part of the plan, but rather create real opportunities for sharing between neighbors.

The Project was awarded with the ArchitekturPreis Berlin 2023 and the Polis Award 2023. It was also nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2024 and finalist for the DAM Preis 2024.

project by JUNE14 Meyer-Grohbrügge & Chermayeff
pictures by Oliver Helbig

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