Water for the Kiez

experimental, educational and active model quarter

Taking the position that standard waterfront development more often threatens than benefits surrounding neighbourhoods, this project considered how redevelopment with a strong water-centred identity could generate a model sustainable urban quarter.

A somewhat isolated site along northern edge of the Mierendorff Insel presented an ideal test site, as it relatively free from immediate development pressure. The remainder of the ‘island’ is a patchwork of urban fabrics, determined by industrial, housing, allotments and some mixed uses. Both this character and its landscape of associations, interest groups and public services determine the agenda and make-up of a local development cooperative.

An exposed blue-green network at ground and upper levels gives the redevelopment a unifying character, as well as being the basis for the quarter’s experimental and educational functions. A central public spine connects between the three distinct urban fabrics in the area; from the allotment garden area at the west end, through the zone of low-rise large footprint sheds in the centre, to the random assemblage of semi-industrial buildings at the east end. New buildings are inserted amid and atop the existing, reinforcing the distinctive urban structures. Carefully chosen access points connect the area across the Spree channel to the north, and southwards under the S-Bahn.