The »Quartier Am Humboldthain« is emerging on the former premises of an AEG plant dominated by historic factory buildings designed by Peter Behrens. This is already the site of the »Technology Park Humboldthain« (TPH), which is home to such institutions as TU Berlin’s Wedding campus and the »Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration«. &MICA is relying on connections for the new development. The green Humboldthain park itself, the technology park and the new development form a symbiotic partnership in the design: Two north–south paths through the site and a central promenade constitute an open pathway system and join the development to the park and the neighbourhood alike. Visual connections between the existing and new buildings are accentuated. As the heart of the area, the central promenade aligns with the impressive façade of the former High-Voltage Factory by Peter Behrens (today Fraunhofer IZM).
Urban Design: Building on a Grid
The urban design by &MICA is based on a grid on which the individual buildings can, like flexible pixels, be positioned, connected, separated and changed. This results in a dense development and simultaneously ensures an inviting atmosphere, a high proportion of greenery and bright, attractive workspaces.
Architecture: Building for More Flexibility
A total of six modular, adaptable buildings are grouped around the central promenade. Access is from four sides, depending on the use: The formal main entrances to the buildings face the promenade, while direct access to the production-intensive areas is from the street.
The buildings, which range from 3 to 13 storeys, step down in height from north to south. This design allows for many green spaces at different heights, fosters air circulation and emphasises modularity. The buildings can be linked with bridges and thus expanded in their use. Stretching between the individual buildings are paved semi-public workers’ courtyards, which offer scope for individual, need-oriented open space design.
Building for the Future
The use of the roofs as retention areas, intensive roof and façade greening, irrigation with excess rainwater that is collected in cisterns: »Quartier Am Humboldthain« is designed to be sustainable in many respects. Geothermal energy combined with photovoltaics aims at CO2-neutral operation, especially since the stepped heights of the buildings enables the incorporation of building-integrated photovoltaics on the southward façades.
Traffic: Building for Car-Free Connections
Thanks to its central location with good transport links, the site offers superb conditions for establishing an enclave with few cars. Consequently, &MICA is planning the neighbourhood to be largely car-free in favour of a comprehensive open and green space design. Need-oriented use is envisaged for emergency, delivery and waste disposal vehicles. Separate underground parking garages provide space to accommodate 400 cars and 4,000 bicycles. The commercial traffic to be expected from the predominantly commercial use will be managed within the quarter in an environmentally friendly manner. A logistics hall in the north-western building serves as a central point for loading and unloading vehicles. A transfer hub is provided inside the building for »last mile« logistics: Deliveries will be made by e-transporters, cargo bikes and, in the future, AMR (autonomous mobile robots). A centrally located »mobility hub« provides bundled mobility opportunities and services along with lockers, charging facilities and mobility counselling.
Building for Undisturbed Coexistence
&MICA separates noise-intensive industry from quiet commerce. The production industry will be separated from the housing – as will the logistics centre and delivery points. Noise-intensive production and logistics are located towards the street, while zones of encounter and quiet businesses face the residential buildings. Public and semi-public spaces are also wisely zoned within the buildings: the ground-floor zones accommodate production facilities on the street side, whereas along the central promenade there are skilled-trade businesses, showrooms, social facilities that serve people from beyond the immediate area, and some recreational and cultural facilities. This enlivens the centre and guarantees peace and quiet for the neighbourhood. On the floors above, flexible spaces are available for laboratories and offices.