Combining a historic building and new construction, the residential, retail, and commercial building at Wallstrasse 16 is located just opposite Fischerinsel, near the southernmost tip of the Spreeinsel, or Spree Island, exactly halfway between the Spittelmarkt and Märkisches Museum subway stations in the Mitte district of the city. With approximately 6,000 square meters of floor space in the old building and some 2,000 in the new building, the complex offers commercial and residential space to people and companies in the “creative industries”—in this case some 270 people—for both working and living.
The existing building on the site, consisting of the front building and three rear buildings and courtyards, has the shape of a comb with four teeth. It was built in 1908 partly as a factory for feather plumes and ruffles and partly as a hat factory, and the unique historical elements of the industrial architecture were largely preserved during renovation. This includes the thick walls and pillars and especially the rugged “Prussian” vaulted ceilings, in which brick or concrete blocks form gentle arches between rows of iron girders.
Nevertheless, the conversion is also clearly apparent. Set on top of the six floors of the front building are two slightly staggered floors with glass façades. These apartments offer beautiful views of the center of Berlin to the north. A barrel roof made entirely of steel, which created space for an open attic level, covers the three rear buildings and the structure connecting them. In keeping with the colors of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century factories, all plastered exterior wall surfaces are rendered in radiant shades of ochre, sienna, and gray.
Adjacent to the three old rear buildings stands a clean-edged building at the back of the property, whose eight floors—six floors aligned with the building footprint plus a staggered floor as well as a small penthouse extending over the edge of the building to the south—form a completely new construction, essentially a simple box distinguished in its architecture by its three façades. Bright red glass panels wrap around all the floors and stand out from the fine matte aluminum window frames and delicate louvers. It is as if the best elements of sixties office architecture had been revived.
Since there are hardly any parking places in the immediate vicinity, the four-story underground garage provides space for 132 cars.