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Fire And Police Station

Sauerbruch Hutton

The complex now houses the Moabiter Werder police and fire brigade station in Berlin’s Zoo district. The competition, called in March 1999, was for a project that preserved the old disused building and added new 3-5 storey structures with many open spaces. Sauerbruch Hutton was awarded the commission for its compact solution that delivers maximum economic and environmental efficiency by extending the connection corridor of the existing building, and adding just one new building: an elongated, two-storey structure on the south side that projects out towards the river.
The existing five floor building, erected in 1907 as a Tax Department office, and bombed during the Second World War, has a solid sandstone and brick neo-Renaissance façade. The new building makes no attempt at compromise or dialogue with its older counterpart. It stands alongside, almost shyly, a demure two storeys, projecting a few metres on the west front. Here, the two buildings are linked by an almost fully glazed façade that provides views of the old building from inside the new construction.
The public entrance to the Police Station has been created from a former window of the old building. The pedestrian ramp leading up to the new entrance from Alt Moabit Strasse lends an almost surreal touch to this staid facade.
Bright colours – a signature feature of Sauerbruch Hutton – lend the new facade a strong image. Here, the glass panels are the familiar red and green of the German Police Force and Fire Department. The 65 cm high, 2.5 m long glazing panels curve around the sides of the building. Slightly overlapping, they lie shingle-fashion, acting as both façade cladding and sun shading for the internal windows. They automatically adjust to outside weather conditions via a system that in turn can be adjusted by the building’s occupants.
The new two-storey body is raised from the ground to make way for ground-level garages for police cars and fire engines. On the side close to the...

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