At the time of the Berlin Wall, the west-north district of Wedding was a working-class area of West Berlin in the French sector that had lived through the decline of the early 20th Century industries and the economic crisis following the isolation of Berlin as an enclave within the GDR.
As a result, Wedding saw a drastic decline in population that allowed the settlement of a large number of migrant workers. This cultural mix is still its main character nowadays.
Designed by Asastudio & Heim Balp Architekten
Until a couple of years ago, Wedding seemed to remain impermeable to the big urban development rush that the city has being undergoing first, after the Wall came down, and then, even more consistently, since the early 2000’s. It was only after that the gentrification process saturated other comparably central districts like Kreuzberg and Neukölln, bringing leases to an ever maximum height, that things started really changing for Wedding.
Thanks to the availability of affordable residential spaces, and to the architectural quality of its industrial heritage, the area has attracted in recent years an increasing number of artists, art galleries and creative ateliers; several new cultural venues and art projects grew from the ashes of the abandoned production facilities.
The local city planning has implemented concurrently an urban regeneration programme for Wedding focused on the uplifting of the public realm, that together with the city’s policies aims to protect the current fabric, creating so far the conditions for a balanced growth. Today Wedding is considered a very lively, multicultural district having half of its population an immigrant background, still with a major potential for growth,and thus playing a central role for the future of Berlin’s architectural
and cultural development.
LINDOWER 22 the project
The Lindower 22 project has been conceived and designed by Heim Balp Architekten & Asastudio as a cultural project organized in the abandoned
industrial compound of the Max Hasse Maschinen Fabrik, formerly dedicated to metalworking and the production of machines and safes. The project encompasses the conversion of more than 6,000 sqm of existing buildings with the focus on creating spaces for art production and exhibition, as well as the construction of further 5,000 sqm of mixed-use buildings in a narrow and very long plot of land to the side of the property.
The program includes 27 residential units, a small theater or performance space, ateliers and at street level several commercial activities, bars and
restaurants. Lindower 22 is designed to become an urban cultural think tank, a space for free thinking and for knowledge exchange, keeping up with Berlin’s free spirit and open attitude.
When completed, the project will become an experimental district where artists, researchers, start-ups, cultural associations, fashion designers, art
galleries, and small contemporary artisans can get together as a community and influence and inspire each other, generating a hybrid hub that grows and develops together with the district of Wedding and the city. During the first phase (from 2014 to the end of 2018) the existing buildings have been renovated and the cultural production has recently started with rehearsals, art production and exhibitions in gallery spaces,performances.
As Pietro Balp and Michael Heim explain << The way we approached the project, is focused on reducing the interventions, yet evident, to the minimum required: The result are bare and clear architecture spaces which do not require any iconic statement. An architecture that rewrites on history instead of wiping it out >>.
LINDOWER 22 HAUS A
The 4-storey L shaped building is the largest building of the complex, as it hosts spaces for the art production and exhibition, as well as residential units and a private collection. The HAUS A refurbishment project has been focused on two mainly interventions : the two-story rooftop extension, cladded in reflective brushed metal panels, which clearly differentiates itself from the original architecture, and the introduction of a new concrete stairway which provides the required fire safety for the new uses, becoming the new main public access.
<< The new stair is the most evident alteration of the existing architecture,yet it belongs here and shows the respect for the original structure by detaching itself from it with a 4 cm gap>> as architects underline. All new refurbishment interventions are made evident by the white colour or by the sincerity of the materials, clearly stating where the boundaries between past and present lie.
LINDOWER 22 HAUS B
With delivery forecast in 2021, the construction work for the last portion of the entire complex is ongoing. This last phase of the project will provide
HAUS B, a mixed use new building (3800 smq). The HAUS B project is conceived as a multiple culture expression place housing a theatre, a delicatessen, along with art ateliers and galleries, artist residency and shared places.
The volumes, the heights as well as the facades of HAUS B, are designed so as to maintain an accurate formal and historical continuity with the existing architecture of Lindower Strasse 22.
LINDOWER 22 HAUS C
Renamed ‘the Cathedral’, as it is freestanding in the middle of the courtyard, HAUS C is a four-storey building with very large windows, that make it
extremely trasparent. Exhibitions activities are located at the ground floor spaces, which include the tracks of the 20th Century addiction, retained a sculpture gardens in the inner courtyard. Offices and worksplaces are located on the upper floors - HeimBalp pratice offices are on the first floor, workplaces on the second- where two new green terraces have been built on top of the one non original addition preserved; the third level has been converted in a loft residential unit. The red brick facade has been preserved and purified from further addictions, emphasizing a crucial drive of the whole design intent.
<< Every element that was still able to operate, has been put back to work, adding and updating only where strictly necessary. The consequences of this let’s say ethical approach, is an apparently unfinished aesthetic, that well allows to understand the building history whilst preserving its aura as highlighted by the architects
LINDOWER 22 HAUS D
HAUS D is the front street portion of the entire complex, consisting of an existing residencial building now refurbished, and a new one with four apartments, along with a small store to become a library on the ground floor. This part of the project helps the transition from the industrial core of the
property to the street, where the residential buildings are located. The new building has been kept on purposely lower than the building code allowed, in order to bring more light from the south side to the courtyards.