Multicultural, creative, unconventional – Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is one of Berlin's most diverse and exciting districts. An irresistible mix that has ensured that renowned companies such as Coca Cola, MTV, Universal and Zalando have settled in Xhain. According to the plans of Eike Becker_Architekten, an innovative commercial courtyard 2.0 will be created on the former Robben & Wientjes site at Prinzenstraße 34, which will continue the long tradition of the historic commercial area and blend harmoniously into the creative urban neighbourhood of the Aufbau Haus and the Prinzessinnengärten. Modern working environments are planned that will give traditional companies, start-ups and creative people the freedom to come up with new ideas. THE GRID sees itself as an urban net in which everyone can build up their own individual business network. This claim is also reflected in the architecture: the metal façade, reminiscent of frames stacked one above the other, is provided with a special generosity and openness by floor-to-ceiling glass surfaces, balconies, terraces and loggias. Everyone is welcome at THE GRID – including the neighbourhood. Small businesses, art, culture and culinary delights on the ground floor and a green inner courtyard invite residents of Kreuzberg and creative people to get to know each other. Façades overgrown with moss, urban gardening areas and roof terraces covered with plants link up with the neighbouring Prinzessinnengärten. The idea of the city garden is also continued inside the building. Green is the dominant colour in the Living Offices, which, in addition to team workplaces, think tanks and meeting areas, also offer lush green relaxation oases. THE GRID is intended to be more than a Great Place to Work – an urban business jungle in the middle of the Kreuzberg neighbourhood.
A similar concept is implemented in THE SHELF diagonally opposite in Prinzenstraße 89/90 by the kadawittfeld office.
Commercial Yards 2.0
The Berlin mix stands for the dense coexistence of residential, trade and production. Around 1900 people lived in the front building and worked in the rear courtyard. In the course of industrialisation, trade and production increasingly moved to the periphery. With the help of digital technologies such as 3D printing, it is meanwhile possible to produce quietly, cleanly, space-savingly and environmentally friendly. Trade and production can thus find their place again in the middle of the city – and lead the commercial yards of the past into the modern age. Commercial Yards 2.0 redefine the Berlin mix. They are test laboratories for the city of the future. Traditional companies, start-ups and creative people can generate synergies here and find innovative solutions for the urban challenges of tomorrow. From urban manufacturing, food laboratories and urban farming through coworking and sharing economy to e-mobility and green city solutions – everything is possible.
Photography: Hans-Georg Esch.