Zürich-based architecture firm Appels Architekten has built a housing that features sleek and raw interiors in Berlin, Germany.
Named Urban Infill, the block is located in the second row of a typical Berlin perimeter block development that fills a void left by the destruction of the rear building during World War II.
Embracing inside-outside relationship, the housing block presents a composition of rough and elegant materials to reflect itsown character.
The volume of the new building evokes the demolished building, enveloping two backyards within its distinctive S-shape design.
Three distinct outdoor spaces envelope this unique design, each with its own purpose and character.
From the lively streetscape, to the serene green garden courtyard, the transition is seamlessly woven through pavement changes, topography, amenities, and carefully selected vegetation.
The generous pierced entrance hall in the new building, and the existing drive-through in the front building, establish connections between the backyards and outdoor spaces.
The block contains a mix of 24 units, catering to a wide range of residents, from singles to families.
The clever configuration of duplex apartments on the first floor provides inner-city ground-floor living with privacy and individual entrances for 25 per cent of the apartments designed as two-story units, offering residents the opportunity to create distinct living environments on separate floors.
For example, the upper-floor living can be combined with atelier or studio spaces on the lower floor, facing the tranquil courtyards.
Appels Architekten is inspired by the surrounding Berlin townhouses to form a characteristic housing shaped by a rough mineral materialization of the perforated facade.
“While the design pays homage to its context, the two-story ground floor facade and the large floor-to-ceiling windows establish an independent identity within the backyards,” said the office.
Inside, the architects preferred to use of raw interior materials that celebrate the fading traces of craftsmanship found in modern housing aimed to maintain the intrinsic nature of the surfaces as an atmospheric element.
“A core focus of this project is the creation of a strong identity for the location, fostering a sense of community and interaction among its residents,” the studio explained.
“In contrast to conventional common spaces, emphasis has also been placed on highlighting specific areas within the outdoor space as identity-creating spaces.”
These intentional design choices encourage chance encounters and casual exchanges among individuals whose connection is based on the identity of the place.
According to the studio, “this strategy aims to enable meaningful interactions and enrich the lives of the community, without forcing it on its residents.”
Appels Architekten also designed a family home that plays with light and black wooden cubes in Bavaria, Germany.
Appels Architects was founded brothers Kaspar and Nikolas as an interdisciplinary architecture firm with the goal of challenging common practices in the disciplines of architecture and real estate development through architecture-led development.
Project name: Urban Infill
Architect: Appels Architekten
All images © Simon Menges.
All drawings © Appels Architekten.
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