New housing development for a Berlin district which has recently become a destination for a large number of new comers, foreign and German alike: artists, students, professional as well as families. The new housing complex completes an existing block by filling its missing portion on the street. The street facade is a reflection of a tripartite floor plan that allows for a certain flexibility. Different apartment size are designed depending on the need of the final dweller: from studio to three bedroom apartments. The facade features two solid volumes--east and west wing--that frame a central glass portion. The facade is an attempt to mediate the different heights of the existing building on the east and the west side of its perimeter into one. The two wings feature a different height and a different roof profile.The building, as a result, establishes an aesthetic, iconographic interaction with a number of romantic urban gates present in the Berlin conurbation. The structural frame was developed by Pirmin Jung Deutschalnd who foresaw a integrated system of hybrid floors (concrete and timber) joining prefabricated timber frame panels for the five levels above ground. The timber house sits on top of a pour in place concrete foundation. Elevator shaft and staircase are built in prefab concrete panels. Why the sudden interest in timber? Compared with steel or concrete, CLT, also known as mass timber, is cheaper, easier to assemble, and more fire resistant, thanks to the way wood chars. It’s also more sustainable. Wood is renewable like any crop, and it’s a carbon sink, sequestering the carbon dioxide it absorbed during growth even after it’s been turned into lumber. Demographers predict that the planet’s urban citizenry will double in the next 30+ years, increasing the demand for ever-taller structures in ever-denser cities. Whether architects and construction firms build those towers from unsustainable materials like steel and concrete or employ new materials like CLT could make a huge difference in the Earth’s health. Put differently, the world’s urban future may just lie in its oldest building material. The finished building will be conscious of the ongoing need of saving energy. It will have a very high energy performance (40kwh/m per year) with very high living standard in all department: savings, safety, value, comfort, health and sustainability. c-b-a provided architectural service, phase 1 to 5, interacting with structural and mechanical engineers to define the technical components of the project. The building is developed in partnership with LIGNOALP, the leading Italian timber company.
c-b-a is an acronym that stands for context of bare architecture, which means that the practice aims to find the bare life of architectural form, namely a form stripped of the prevailing rhetoric of the day. Since its inception c-b-a has been involved with the design of a number of building types, ranging from public library to museum, school complexes and stadium, with the majority of the executed work revolving around the production of office buildings and housing. Since 2013 c-b-a has been increasingly involved in a number of activities engaging with the city of Berlin. These include the design a number of contemporary housing complexes in Berlin that may acknowledge the new social and living conditions (like the increasing atomization of the traditional family structure) or the a new model of living/working units that may provide a provisional solution to the on/going refugee emergency.