Residential Building,
Uhlandstraße 187, Berlin

Although characterized by the constant back and forth and incessant noise of hundreds of local and long-distance trains, the viaducts of the Stadtbahn—the city railway that has traversed Berlin since the late nineteenth century—were never seen as an obstacle to densely concentrated development, even in the immediate vicinity of the viaduct’s long chain of stone vaults. In fact, on the side streets north of the Kurfürstendamm—on Uhlandstrasse, for example—many residential and commercial buildings stood and still stand barely a few meters away from the tracks.

The new, elongated building lies just south of the old viaducts and is separated from their arches only by a six-meter-wide passage that leads from perimeter-block to perimeter-block. Above the second floor, the building juts forward a bit along its entire length, thereby providing the passageway with a projecting roof that turns the strolling from shop to shop (that is, from arch to arch) into a characteristically urban pleasure.

The building’s prominent position in the urban context means its architectural structure, with its long northern façade and its narrow western one, can be clearly observed. A relief of glass and aluminum enlivens the surfaces of both. While the horizontal lines on the north relate to the movement of the trains on the railway line, the vertical lines on the west seek a connection to the neighboring residential buildings. Passengers approaching by train from the west see this contrast immediately.

The building stands on an area measuring 946 square meters. The north side is devoted exclusively to access and circulation; stairways and corridors form a protective wall against the noisy train tracks across the way. There is a shop on the ground floor as well as parking spaces for twenty-four vehicles. Approximately sixty apartments measuring between fifty-five and sixty-five square meters are accommodated on the second through seventh floors. In almost all cases, apartment windows and balconies face south toward a courtyard, which brings the building to a quiet conclusion.

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