Themes dreams and schemes.
Our musings on design, hotels, hospitality, and how much we enjoy revealing Berlin to our guests on a personal scale.
In our architectural practice we strive to design flexibility into our buildings as possible. To do this we work at refining the design on multiple levels, from adaptable uses, through variable floor plans, and adjustable technology.
Desging flexible buildings and adapting existing buildings is arguabley the most important factor in sustainable urban development because it ensures their lasting relevance to our society.
Building can be a minefield, unexpected things blow up in your face on a regular basis. When a company with goes broke on site, picking up the pieces is always a messy job.
While we were designing and building the minilofts, the Berlin economy was in dire straits, which meant we had many brushes with bankrupt builders that often bordered on the absurd.
Designing a building is one thing, getting it built is a completely different ball game. Our relationships with the builders ran the gamut from productive to the insanely stressful.
In particular our façade company's nightmare grade behavior kept us on our toes. The events played out like a dime novel that always had a new ugly surprise waiting for us.
Our primary interest was the design of the building, but to get it built we had to wade into the world of finance. Although the waters looked dark from the outset, they turned out to be far murkier than we expected!
This 'obituary' plumbs the depths of our ten year relationship with the HypoVereinsbank. It was rocky, dangerous, and emotionally draining, thank god it's finally over!
The Miniloft building is a self confident hybrid of old and new. The physical layers of its history give it a richness that cannot be created from scratch.
This article outlines the fascinating history of the building, its scars of war and neglect during the communist regime, and how the new design transformed it into a unique place to spend the night.
Materials are a fundamental ingredient in our experience of architecture. They add a sensual dimension to our interaction with space, and underpin a building's identity.
While designing the minilofts we selected materials that would underscore and heighten the experience of our building. The materials emphasize the loft character, and at the same time create a cozy feeling of being at home.
Berlin's fascinating and frustrating relationship to its unique history have had a large influence on urban design and architecture in Berlin.
Berlin has a very distinct relationship with its historical urban fabric. This relationship has evolved through several phases since the end of World War II – the evolution of design in this period could be compared to the phases of mourning for a dead family member. It has taken almost sixty years, but I think Berlin has finally recovered from its mourning.
We designed the miniloft building to conduct a distinctive dialogue with its context. The building's shape, materials, and detailing were all designed with this context in mind, and play a critical role in the minilofts unique identity.
The miniloft's west façade which faces directly onto the the street, is where the hotel's predominant defining form is most visible and distinctive. The west façade is composed of three vertical bands. The first most northerly band is made of glass; the other two are clad in stainless steel. These bands are designed to reduce the number of materials and transitions to a minimum. Because of this careful detailing the bands become monolithic surfaces, which emphasize the purity of the building's form.
The south façade is a unique design composed of alternating vertical stripes that help give the building its distinct identity, and create a feeling of largess. To achieve this we designed a set of custom details, and broke with conventions of façade design.