SEHW Architektur GmbH - Reanimation
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Reanimation

SEHW Architektur GmbH

Villa / Completed
SEHW Architektur GmbH

Reduce, reuse, recycle a contribution in the latest Venice Architecture Biennale that makes you think. And then there is this building in Berlin Zehlendorf, vacant for years. It has endured several moultings before it shed its skin and is reused once more. Built in the 70ties for business and production it followed a functional purpose: Staff area on lower ground floor, naturally lit by the shape of the topography, a big hall for delivery with machine shop on the ground floor and offices on the first floor. A lot of daylight everywhere. A clear grid with strong beams to keep the space free of any columns, exposed concrete without any visual requirements. Than its first moulding: at some point the building became too small for the business, and so it was reused as the embassy of Mongolia. They wanted to convert it but the project fell by the wayside. An unfinished skinning to stick with the metaphor. Left behind was a building left to decay: inside, graffiti and water damages through bursted pipes, damages to the façade caused by overflowing rain gutters, overnight guests leaving behind evidences, boarded windows as all windows were smashed and completely overgrown. And all of this happening in a city with a housing shortage, in the middle of a high end residential area.
Time for the wrecking ball? Replaced by two townhouses in historic style which are so in demand in this kind of area? No. Time for another moulding! A comparable use of the site would not be granted planning today. Despite the decay the structure was still sound. And more than that, it has a certain charm. The vacant house was striped to its core but the skinnings with the rough concrete of the structure, the skylights, the staircase with its terrazzo tiles and, with an ironic wink, the flag polls in the front yard remained visible.
Today, after eight months of construction the house is used for living. On the ground floor a patio is placed between two living areas. A ceiling slab was removed to create a gallery between ground- and first floor. This all creates interesting views in every direction. A granny-flat is to be found where the former staff area was located. Its living space merges into a terraced landscape. Kitchen-, dining-, and living area with library stretch deep through the building and provide very different moods of daylight. The series of beams allow the old machine shop to be tangible. Necessary rooms set in a wooden box are clearly divided from the crude concrete of the rest of the building by a visible joint. They remain elusive, more a gift box or furniture than rooms. The private area with master bedroom and bathroom is located on the upper floor. The rooms are only separated by a built in wardrobe with a sliding door that allows the space to be open or closed off. The Gallery is also a working space and opens onto the roof of the lower part of the building. Standing in front of the house the neighboring buildings appear relatively close but from the inside the only thing you see through the accentuated openings is the surrounding greenery.
So far the skinnings were only utilitarian. Now an actual second skin is added. To comply with building regulations the building received a mineral insulation and a timber cladding with rough boards glazed in black. The new skin unifies the former moultings as well as the different building volumes. Various widths of the boards prevent the windows from cut outs. The windows sit either flush with the façade or deep in the reveals. This makes the buildings plasticity perceptible both, from the outside and the inside. Some selected openings are clad with vertical timber louvers providing a private screen as well as sun shading. The black of the façade flows inside in the kitchen cabinets and long built in sideboards in front of the windows. Thereby the walls appear to be thicker and stronger. Black, grey and white are the prevailing colours, complimented by shades of yellow, green and blue. The crude concrete of the ceilings is reflected in the exposed screed of the floor.
The exterior extends the play with plains, terraces, materiality and colours. A black gate, concrete, black gravel, timber decks. Various plains, once as a basin for rainwater and again as an almost artificial, geometrical lawn. The rest are grasses and perennial plants flourishing in different colours. A mighty stock of trees is shaping the character of the building as a black box in the greenery.
The House came alive once more and has probably some more lives, some more skinings ahead of itself. And this is something in our through-away-society.

Credits

 Berlin
 private
 02/2017
 370
 600000
 Prof. Xaver Egger
 Prof. Xaver Egger in cooperation with Dipl.-Ing. Architektin Sandra Scheffl, Dipl.-Ing. Architekt Alexander Wild, M.Sc. Eunkyoung Song
 Prof. Xaver Egger
 Philipp Obkircher

Curriculum

This Building in Berlin has endured several moultings before it shed its skin and is reused once more. Built in the 70ties for business and production it followed a functional purpose: Staff area on lower ground floor, naturally lit by the shape of the topography, a big hall for delivery with machine shop on the ground floor and offices on the first floor. A clear grid with strong beams to keep the space free of any columns, exposed concrete without any visual requirements. The vacant house was striped to its core but the skinnings with the rough concrete of the structure, the skylights, the staircase with its terrazzo tiles and, with an ironic wink, the flag polls in the front yard remained visible.
Today the house is used for living. On the ground floor a patio is placed between two living areas. A ceiling slab was removed to create a gallery between ground- and first floor. A granny-flat is to be found where the former staff area was located.

http://sehw-berlin.de/portfolio-item/wohnen-in-berlin/


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