The New Ruin

Working inside »Telegraph« in Berlin-Mitte

How do you enlarge a building that breathes history? In Berlin’s Köpenicker Straße, &MICA was able to renovate a listed historic loft building and complement it with a new building. The contem­porary revita­li­sation of venerable walls became a forward-thinking and sustainable office ensemble thanks to two coura­geous decisions.

Straßenansicht des Telegraphgebäudes. Auf dem denkmalgeschützten Fassadenfragment stülpt sich der Neubau.

The first decision was to preserve the traces left by time on the existing building. The common theme of history runs through the entire building, even after having been refur­bished. Our sensitive treatment of the existing built fabric brings to life its material presence. Steel struc­tural elements are accen­tuated, and plaster surfaces and flaking paint are preserved. Original piers and window breasts have been given back their function and appearance, and vaulted brick ceilings made visible.

To give the existing building a worthy counterpart, the second decision was made: The new building is conceived as a ruin being reclaimed by nature. The new was conceived from the start as remaining unfinished and thus ideally comple­ments the old that persists.

A landmarked fragment of the original building serves as the base for the new building. A straight­forward concrete façade with generous glass fronts is punctuated by lush greenery. In front of the balconies, which stretch across the entire width of the new building, are planted gabions. Growing out of these wire cages are pioneer shrubs that seek their way across the woven steel mesh of the balcony railings. The plants are far more than aesthetic elements: they serve as parti­culate filters and as climate buffers that reduce noise and cool the air.

»Telegraph« is a modern place of work with 11,650 m2 of high-quality and energy-efficient usable floor area. It is comple­mented by a green oasis, the inner courtyard, which has been freed of parking spaces and bicycle racks. The two-wheelers can now be parked in an under­ground garage.


Working inside »Telegraph« in Berlin-Mitte

Site plan



Ground floor

Standard floor



»Telegraph« and Sustaina­bility


Building for the Environment

Photo­vol­taics and geothermics supply the buildings with environ­men­tally friendly energy. Extensive greening of the façade filters parti­culate matter from the air, buffers heat and promotes biodi­versity.


Building for Tranquillity

The under­ground parking facility with space for 220 bicycles and 10 cars frees the courtyards from vehicles and turns them into leafy recrea­tional areas.


Bauen »for the Ages«

Wherever possible, respect was paid to the history of the ruins. Old parts of the building were retained and refur­bished to meet the latest standards. The result is contem­porary archi­tecture with a nineteenth-century ambience.

In conver­sation with
Silvia Ciprian

»A key feature is the greening of the façade with the help of gabions. This ecolo­gical concept was developed in Japan and applied for the first time in Europe together with the landscape archi­tects from Atelier le balto.«

In this way, we are promoting the mobility revolution.

The under­ground car park with space for 220 bicycles and 10 cars frees the courtyards from means of transport and turns them into green recrea­tional areas.

Brant Esada Group
Time Frame
2016 – 2022
Approx. 11.650 m² GFA
LPH 1 – 5 HOAI and artistic super­vision
Landscape architect
Atelier le balto
Büro Schramm für Gestaltung and Luca Abbiento


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