WerkBundStadt

The designs for WerkBundStadt Berlin were conceived as houses of many doors. When HvdHA was asked to contribute to a model housing estate in Charlottenburg, Berlin, they began by exploring the role of the street-level door and ground floor programs as key drivers of housing type and street character. As a result, as many doors as possible are placed onto the street and opts for an open residential program rather than assigning commercial uses to the ground floor.  These spaces which are attached to residential units above are flexible in their use, lending themselves to home offices, playrooms, music or art studios, or a more formal residential salon that initiates a dialogue with the public realm rather than retreats from public view. The uses are decided by the residents. By creating a frame for the most public of residential functions to take place on the street, the housing for WerkBundStadt Berlin acknowledges a lost urban device, the ground floor residential loggia. Once present on the ground floor of most family palazzi of Medieval and early-Renaissance Florence, they were served as mediating spaces between the public life of the city and the domestic context of the home where banquets, weddings, activities of the family business, and socialising, would take place in full view of the street.

Although asked to propose three projects, only one of which is to be delivered, HvdHA envisioned the three models constructing a street of these active residential ground floors. By developing a model for the ground floor, the residential blocks above could take the form of differing housing types and scales yet still create a cohesive street character.

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