MLA+ together with Atelier Loidl Landschaftsarchitekten have won Berlin Gehrenseestrasse to design a new residential district in Berlin – Lichtenberg

The mixed-use residential project which is developed by Belle Époque and HOWOGE will provide ca. 1.800 new apartments, a school and small shops. After two rounds of competition, MLA+ was declared the winner and is commissioned to further develop the plan in the time to come.

The urban design is both an expression of a strong spatial idea, as well as a reaction to the problematic noise situation of the site. Based on the typical Berlin housing typology of tenements arranged around an inner court block, the proposal is inspired by early 20th century Reformarchitektur. The outer block edges, connected by “bridges”, form an effective protection against the immission of noise. As a result, the districts interior is characterized by attractive, generous, green and quiet open spaces.

The composition of the urban blocks generates an open space network of squares, courtyards and gardens, each with a different character. Along the perimeter the new quarter is framed by square-like openings forming effective links to the public spaces in the adjacent neighbourhoods. The two centrally located semi-public courtyards serve neighbourly gathering and are identifiable addresses at the same time. The private garden courtyards which are accessible via passageways form unique and rather intimate “green worlds”.

From the assessment of the jury:

The design, which is based on traditional Berlin courtyards, creates a district with a metropolitan character. The deliberate setting of the building volumes within the planning area creates attractive and well-proportioned urban spaces, which are strongly accentuated by the five high-rise structures and the school solitaire in the east. The relatively noise-proof courtyards provide space for the largest possible share of noise-free apartments.

The division of the planning area into clear block-units as identifiable addresses offers the potential to create identity for the neighbourhood. The integration of a convincing number of commercial units ensures urban liveliness and an inhabited character of the area. In terms of aesthetic sustainability, the scheme provides the opportunity to achieve a variety in the architectural design.