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162 Volta Nord Urban Study, Basel 2020 – BeL & Marco Merz Marion Clauss & Studio Céline Baumann

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status: urban study
program: housing, commerce, industry
location: Basel
team BeL: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Julia Kaulen, Hannah Rudolph
with Marco Merz, Marion Clauss, Leonard Schaffner, Céline Baumann, Merlin Bauer, Martina Kausch, Martin Josephy, Bárbara Maçães Costa
client: City of Basel
date: January 2020

The site lies in the transition zone between the Volta industrial area and the St. Johann residential district. A juxtaposition of different scales and building forms defines the site, whose identity emerges in the field of tension between impressive large buildings and small, individual urban building blocks. This juxtaposition is fruitful. Although the buildings and open spaces of the industrial plants follow exclusively logistical necessities, they form qualitative urban spaces which, when converted, result in multi-layered living environments. The urban structure of the design takes up the potential of this industrial context, interweaving the needs of a mixed living and working quarter with the expressive spaces of the industrial environment.

From three elementary typologies—the bar, courtyard building, and comb—a series of large conglomerates are born; creatures with a shifting open-closed character. One moment they appear as object-like solitaires, while the next they yield to the open spaces with a touching intimacy. These large entities are formed from groups of smaller individual typologies which vary in height between five and nine stories; optimized for the lighting of all interior and exterior spaces. A multitude of yards, courts and niches are formed by these large volumes, offering acoustic protection from the noise of the surroundings; each dwelling has at least one façade facing a protected area.

The hierarchy of these spaces—their zones of graduated privacy—can be grasped intuitively. Two vistas into the park in the northern part of the development signal accessibility without thresholds, while large yards—formed with the simple bar-type buildings and characterized by a high degree of collectivity—open to the street for commercial, artistic, educational, or communal uses. The courtyard building-type entrance courts provide a somewhat smaller communal space for residents, while the comb-type buildings, with their small pockets of semi-private space, stitch a small-scale residential character into the industrial-scale surroundings. 

Englische Linie

138 Albertussee Urban Design Competition, Düsseldorf 2017 – BeL & NL Architects

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status: urban design competition
program: housing, working
location: Düsseldorf
team BeL: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Laura Fuchs, Amelie Bimberg, Leonard Palm, Jonas Läufer
team NL: Kamiel Klaasse, Mark Kanters, Linda Consiglieri
client: Metro Group
date: October 2017

The peculiarity of the site is its production of contradictory phenomena. The nearby highway and industrial buildings create an audible world characterized by their unpleasant loudness while the left-over open spaces have fostered a bucolic wilderness, complete with an idyllic lake.

Through the insertion of a residential quarter, ‘Am Albertussee’ creates a new mixture of city and landscape. Here, the synthesis of two contrasting urban morphologies—the open modernist cityscape and the closed compact “European city”—combines the best of both concepts.
The scenic nature is emphasized by the flowing spaces of modernity, while the interior spaces of the solitary blocks protects the inhabitants from the noise of their surroundings.

The outdoor space is an inclusive permeable public space, serving both the residents and the greater population as a place for meeting and leisure. Not only does the transition between the pastoral south and the urban north mark relationship of nature and culture, but it gradually introduces inaccessibility protecting scenic biotope from and for the densely programmed public space.

Englische Linie

131.2 Quartier Spielbudenplatz: Museum, Hostel Competition, Hamburg-St. Pauli 2016-2020 – BeL & NL Architects

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status: competition
program: museum, hostel
location: St. Pauli, Hamburg
team BeL: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Christiane Schmidt, Alia Mortada, Julia Kaulen, Michel Kleinbrahm, Jonas Läufer, Wolfgang Zeh
team NL: Kamiel Klaasse, Kirsten Hüsig, Laura Riano Lopez, Pieter Bannenberg, Guilia Pastore, Jasna Kajevic
structural engineer: Jürgen Bernhardt, Cologne
client: Bayerische Hausbau GmbH & Co. KG., Bezirksamt Hamburg Mitte
date: August 2016

The small Plot 2 features a compact, interconnected structure of communal cultural uses. Thus, the complex relationships of opening, demarcation, insight and separation give form to this urban building block. On Spielbudenplatz stands the small museum with a massive façade, crowned by a skate park. Its glass pedestal contains a café and a club, which extends into the basement. From here, a staircase connects the clubs concert space with the townhouse-style hostel next door.

The museum façade acts as a sound barrier, protecting the alley behind and the building itself from the noise of Spielbudenplatz. Operable windows are hidden in the trapezoids of the soundproof wall, and skylights are concealed in the volcanoes of the skate park. A bridge spans the alley, connecting the skate park to the adjacent 3D building of Plot 1. Here skaters spend the afternoon in the evening sun, enjoying the view over the Reeperbahn while a service entrance from the hostel supplies drinks.

The club has two function rooms: a day club on the level of Spielbudenplatz with a stage in the shop window and a subterranean club with a basilica-like layout under the alley. You descend into the club via a central staircase - with cloakroom and box office in what would be the organ loft. From the club, a service staircase leads up to the hostel, where visiting performers can lodge. The hostel is a narrow, eight-story townhouse on the alley with three small double rooms and a slightly larger private room on each floor. The rooms face the alley, each with a façade basket for airing clothes and storing travellers' belongings. A two-story restaurant, which also serves as the reception, opens onto the alley. Here, guests can spend their days and evenings before ascending to their rooms.

Englische Linie

137 Hallen Kalk Urban Design Workshop, 1st prize, Cologne 2017 – BeL & Studio Vulkan & Prof. Dr. Guido Spars

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status: urban design workshop, 1st prize
program: multi-use: school, kindergarten, workshops, community areas, housing, offices, public open spaces
location: Cologne
team BeL: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Laura Fuchs, Amelie Bimberg, Jonas Läufer, Mariel Kaiser-Crompton, Jakob Wolters
team Studio Vulkan: Robin Winogrond, Helen Yu
project development: Prof. Dr. Guido Spars
client: City of Cologne
date: July 2017

South of Kalk’s main street is a place where large empty spaces lie half asleep. ‘Die Hallen Kalk’ (The Kalk Halls) are a series of very large, monumental, industrial spaces which—with little exception—have long remained closed to the public.

This is about to change: the industrial halls will become communal halls; the site will be mixed in with the street. To create a diversity of urban spaces, a diversity of strategies is applied. These strategies emerge from the qualities of the existing structure itself, and therefore—while diverse—are united in maintaining the original character of the Halls. The existing usages thus generate a sophisticated structure for implementing the new usages.

The Kalk halls under 3,500 m2 each receive distinct uses: a market hall, school hall, festival hall, studio hall, dance hall, craftsmen's hall, adventure hall, play hall, BMX park and residential courtyard. The juxtaposition of these large units creates a mesh of uses which give the surrounding spaces an urban liveliness. The larger spaces—up to 10,000 m2—are more ambiguous. Here, the different uses lie over and within each other, staggered or simultaneous, fostering unexpected human interactions. Through removal of the skylight glazing, Hall 70 is transformed into a large plaza. Here the schoolyard, sports areas, kindergarten, planting area, greenhouse and refectory/restaurant mingle to form an impressive and multi-layered space. The unique blend of spatial definition and open sky, combined with its sheer size, makes Hall 70 into a significant Kalk landmark. Architectural sublimity and cultural openness constitute here a new cornerstone for a developing neighborhood.

Englische Linie

141 Ehrenveedel Competition, Cologne 2017

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status: competition
program: housing, workshops, retail
location: Ehrenfeld, Cologne
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Laura Fuchs, Mariel Kaiser-Crompton, David Leber, Malte Wilms
client: Aurelis Real Estate
date: November 2017

The neighborhood of Ehrenfeld, with its characteristic mixture of small-scale residential/mixed-use development and large-scale industrial areas, is developing to serve future needs. However, in today’s economy, continuing the small-scale development of the area is just as impossible as preserving fragments of the site’s former freight depot. The project thus places a special demand on the architecture for the creation of a site-specific identity: the uniqueness of the place must not be lost in anonymity. The site, with topography rising toward the South, is traversed lengthwise by three axes: a neighborhood access road to the North, a bike-pedestrian through-way, and a green corridor sloping down from the train tracks to the South. Neighborhood alleyways connect these axes cross-wise, allowing for a central residential courtyard, while the zoning plan calls for the integration of commercial uses along the Northern neighborhood street.

These conditions—the interaction of different social spaces, topography, required noise protection, and planned building volumes—call for a mixture of building typologies to compliment the various open spaces and maintain the mixed-scale character of the neighborhood. Buildings A, B and C are therefore not only different from one another, but are further subdivided to finely tune relationships between public, semi-public and private areas.

Along the neighborhood street in the north, the buildings are arranged directly adjacent to the street space, creating a threshold-free connection to the public space. The neighborhood alleys to the east and west are activated by the entrances to the residential units of Buildings A and B, while low-threshold front areas of the ground floor flats create a transition from the public to the private sphere. The topography creates clearly defined transitions to the flat inner courtyard, which sits 1,5m above the ground-floor units to the North and West. Building B solves this challenge with a plinth, —at about the same level as the courtyard—accessible from the North via a staircase and from the South at ground level. Building A, on the other hand, mediates the height distinction through a series of double and split level units, all containing internal stairs. This strategy is picked up by building C, which is entered directly from the pedestrian and bicycle path, and features private gardens arranged another 1,5m up green slope to the South.

The ensemble is bound together by a canon of industrial façade materials and the central courtyard, the social heart of the area. With direct access for all residents, a gradation of secondary public thoroughfares and semi-public inner block areas, it invites communal use. Elevated off the street and lightly shielded from the bike path by trees, the courtyard features a water-bound sand surface, making it an explicitly informal grandchild to the open industrial yards of the past. The yard is protected from the sound of passing trains by the high wall of building C, while the terraces of buildings A and plinth of building B are just high enough to provide the yard with informal seating. The three buildings—with their ample balconies, roof gardens and arcades—work together, forming a protected, lively atmosphere

Englische Linie

063 Kö-Bogen Urban Design Competition, Düsseldorf 2008 – BeL & Heide & von Beckerath

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status: urban design competition
program: city center redevelopment
architecture: BeL & Heide & von Beckerath & Locodrom Landschaftsarchitekten
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Jan Derveaux, Verena von Beckerath, Tim Heide, Wolfgang Zeh, Phillip Schneider
client: Stadt Düsseldorf
date: December 2008

The result of car-oriented city planning, Düsseldorfs Kö-Bogen’ area no longer satisfies the demands of a contemporary, publicly perceptible urban space. In particular, the intersection of Hochstraße, Berliner Allee, Schadowstraße and Hofgartenstraße, as well as the crossing streetcar lines, create a public space inadequate for the needs of a pedestrian-oriented city center: offers for cyclists and pedestrians are missing and Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz is isolated by parking ramps. It has been reduced to an underused, mono-functional theater square. This urban planning proposal follows a integrated, yet selectively targeted strategy to transform the site. The negatively perceived compression of urban dynamics, caused by the noise and exhaust of road traffic, and the barrier-forming traffic infrastructure, are reformed into an exciting, comfortable and livable urban space. The existing dynamics of the site are not negated, but absorbed. Nuisances and hazards are eliminated through the clever arrangement of new features and the re-appropriation of the old.

By removing the traffic from the overpass and routing it underground, or integrating it into the surrounding city, a new piece of public infrastructure is created.  The ‘Tausendfüßler’ (centipede) creates a high-quality outdoor space with weather protection unparalleled in Europe, creating a distinctive new feature for Düsseldorf. The new space is an amplifier and transformer of adjacent uses. Connected to ground level by six new vertical accesses, the Tausendfüßler creates a two-level horizontal sequence of different programs. This space connects the Hofgarten, Berliner Allee and Immermannstraße with a marketplace, outdoor theater, cafes and play areas for children and adults.

Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz will now be connected at ground level with the new open spaces surrounding it. The surface of the new urban space will consist of exposed aggregate concrete slabs in four light, slightly varying shades of gray. The slabs form a generous polygonal units with surfaces treated to give them the shimmering mica effect typical of gneiss. Two low points are both water fountains, square drainage and light sources for the parking garages below. The subway station is connected to the ground surface by an opening including a staircase and is related to the other public spaces.

Living in the center of the city, in close proximity to the cultural center and the Hofgarten, is a central component of the design concept. Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz, which is given a new presence, is enlivened by residential use and enhanced in its function as a public space. To this end, two new structures replace the former buildings at Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz and Tuchtinsel, while a third new structure completes the constellation. The structures each consist of a 25 m high base and a 54 m high tower. The northwestern building is connected to the elevated streetcar station, while the southern building spans the Tausendfüßler. To the north, the buildings’ 6 m high arcades open directly onto the square, concentrating commercial and public uses. Here, the apartment buildings’ lower floors participate directly in the urbanity of the square (children's laughter, latte macchiato, ice rink in winter, water games in summer), while apartments on the upper floors bring with them a view over the city. For the residents, the Hofgarten is perceived as a front yard.

Englische Linie

187 Bottwarwiesen Urban Design Competition, Oberstenfeld 2021 – BeL & Studio Vulkan

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status: urban design competition
program: multi-use; housing, kindergarden, allotment gardening, retail, education, industry, community space
location: Oberstenfeld
team BeL: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Julia Kaulen, Alina Uhlenbrock, Laura Fuchs, Amelie Kulassek
team Studio Vulkan: Dominik Bueckers Florian Strauss, Fanny Brandauer
client: Gemeinde Oberstenfeld
date: September 2021

Oberstenfeld grows and is woven more tightly through the means of the existing structure. The main elements are the streets, which doubling as living space offer a scenic sequence of everyday actions.

In this way, they continue the quality of the historic local street: a gently curved space with busy first floors, inhabited upper floors, slow cars, people crossing, cyclists, fountains, small squares and a flowing transition with glimpses of courtyards, small gardens and residential paths.

Open space and development of the Bottwar meadows are conceived in synthesis. The Bottwar space is the heart of the area and links major public uses together - people live and work by the Bottwar. All building sites are only a few steps away from it and all residential paths look and lead onto to the wide banks of the stream.

The site is minimally paved and developed as a kind of model settlement for the principle of the sponge city - preventing temperature peaks and keeping raw materials on site.

The four new neighborhoods in the fabric are inherently mixed - similar to the existing structure of the town center. The housing typologies are developed as local types from Oberstenfeld's independent building culture and connect to the scale of the small town.

Existing industrial buildings are integrated into each neighborhood. The halls are converted in a low-threshold manner, used communally and interweave the 100-year industrial history of the Bottwar meadows with the future.

Englische Linie

043 CNL Competition, Prague, Czech Republic 2006

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status: competition
program: Czech National Library
location: Prague, Czech Republic
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Eveline Jürgens, Thomas Schneider, Lynn Kukelies
net floor area: 53.826 m2
client: National Library of the Czech Republic, Prague
structural engineer: Jürgen Bernhardt, Cologne
date: September 2006

The building of the New National Library marks the western edge of Letenská plain. Even though building mass is added to the area, the wide and open terrain is preserved as a multifunctional urban space. Corresponding to the monumental dimensions of the urban context, the New National Library rests as a simplistic volume on the extended gravel surface of Letenská plain. Oriented parallel to the open area, the building has a square footprint of 97,20m2 based on an 8,10 m square grid. To the north, an open plaza provides the main entrance for pedestrians. To the east, the library café, which also serves as an entrance, features a terrace looking onto the infinite gravel surface of Letenská plain.

The New National Library is a hybrid typology between utilitarian functionality and public grandeur. Sixty percent of the floor area is used solely for storage, with twenty percent of the floor area is open to the public. The presence of 10 million books creates a monumentality by sheer number, similar to baroque libraries, where visitors and employees are completely surrounded by books. With generic typologies such as supermarkets as a model the scheme juxtaposes the programmatic necessities of separating magazine and public spaces with the baroque approach of universal presence. The enormous size and complexity of a National Library reflects into simplistic spatial matrix.

In plan the 97,20 m deep open space is structured by supportive cylinders and voids in the floor. The voids connect spatially to the lower floors, which are mainly used as magazine spaces. The cylinders also provide controlled natural light through circular patios. Four cores contain vertical circulation, fire escapes, public and freight elevators with car capacity. Upper floors have 6,75 m clearance, lower floors 2,33 m. The neutrality of the system allows for a wide array of possible layouts. Essentially the ground floor contains public services, the first floor reading rooms, the second floor administration and public services. Restaurant and auditorium are also on the second floor.

Each upper floor is accompanied by a secondary lower floor (inverted mezzanine) that provides storage space for the public.

Englische Linie

107 7/8 house Prototype Single-Family House, IBA Hamburg 2014

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status: 1st completion 2016, 2nd unit in progress
program: prototype single-family house
location: Neugraben-Fischbek, Hamburg
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Matthias Hoffmann, Conrad Paul Kersting, Aaron Schirrmann, Christiane Schmidt, Alia Mortada, Julia Kaulen
client: IBA Hamburg
date: April 2014

The 7/8 house is an extendable house, designed to accommodate different living arrangements. The internal structure produces a range of ‘houses’ from the 4/ 8 house (106 m2) to the 7/8 house (142 m2.) Within the finished shell, light ceilings and partition walls can be constructed of wood. This makes do-it-yourself changes possible: if another child comes, one of the air spaces is transformed into a new room over a long weekend. Once the children are out of the house, it can become smaller again and provide space for a second, independent ‘granny’ apartment. In this 4/8 + 3/8 house, the living area of the core house is 86 m2, and both units have their own garden access.

Englische Linie

136 Grün für 97 Competition, Baakenhafen Hamburg 2017

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status: competition
program: housing
location: Baakenhafen, HafenCity, Hamburg
team BeL: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Alia Mortada, Roman Krükel
client: cooperative board HeimatMole
date: April 2017

In the home of the Heimatmole building community, big life changes do not mean moving out, but small architectural changes. Having a child, caring for elderly parents, separations and group living arraignments can be accommodated by installing a new door or closing a doorway with a wooden stud wall. The house offers maximum adaptability through minimal intervention. This is made possible by an architecture structured around a multitude of neutral spaces. Not simple intermediate spaces, the rooms have precisely determined dimensions, allowing them to accommodate all facets of life; kitchen, workshop, bedroom, dining room, eat-in kitchen, children's room, utility room, music room, library, youth room and office now fit into every room. Through a central diffusion of bathrooms, water (and thus potential kitchens) is available throughout the floor-plan, allowing for a wide variety arrangements. The office, work room or guest flat can become autonomous without expensive conversion.

The building stands directly on the Warf plaza, enhancing the creative potential of the neighborhood with its mixture of living and working. The two-story base of the building features many doors, and a series of double height spaces. The most public of these is the communal ‘Heimatclub,’ while the others are the defining features of the four live/work maisonette apartments at ground level. These apartments are offered privacy by a thin layer of climbing plants. They are use-flexible, but achieve this not in their floorplan, but in their volume. The residents determine the character of their plaza though their individual decisions: is it studio, office, living room or kitchen at ground level? Each of these maisonettes is completed with a terrace on the courtyard side of the buildings.

Above the base, the relationship between the public side and the protected communal side is flipped. While on the Warftplatz the residents form a counterpart to the neighboring house, the courtyard side faces the Elbe river, visible to the whole city. On the upper floors therefore, the façade needs to offer privacy from the city while participating in its image. These contradictory requirements of protection and representation are handled with a green scaffold. This element is both technical and ecological in character, supporting a multitude of climbing and flowering plants, and crowned with an energy-harvesting wind turbine. This façade is no empty image, but full of life. Its balconies create a direct relationship between the courtyard and the building’s residents, offering views of and from the city, while flowering trellises attract birds and insects. 

 

Englische Linie

132 Bremsstraße Housing, Cologne 2018

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program: housing, day-care center
location: Cologne
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Michel Kleinbrahm, Mariel Kaiser-Crompton, Laura Fuchs, David Leber, Jakob Wolters, Christiane Schmidt
date: May 2018

The Zollstock neighborhood in Cologne contains an array of different functions and building typologies. In the site’s immediate vicinity, there is a heterogeneous mixture of 3 to 4-storey perimeter block buildings, terraced buildings, free-standing 8 to 12-storey high-rise buildings, and 1-storey commercial buildings. The block interiors are often built up with scattered low buildings of 1-3 stories and connected to the neighborhood’s streets with doors and passageways.

Responding to a desire for both order and diversity, the scheme is modeled after the Pallenberg housing estate in Cologne-Weidenpesch. Built in 1906, the estate is composed of buildings around a central park and, according to the garden city principle, featured a community center with a reading room and public baths. A gatehouse flanked by other buildings gives access to the central zone.

The new interpretation in Zollstock consists of a 7-story, 16-meter-deep gatehouse on Bremsstraße and a smaller, 4-story, 12.5-meter-deep gatehouse on Heinrich-Brüning-Straße. In between, a 4-story building with a day-care center at ground level encloses the outdoor central common space. This central outdoor space serves as access for the flats and the day-care center, the play area and opens a new pedestrian crossing between the two streets. The inner building encircles the yard with a series of delicate arcades, providing access to the apartments and bringing life into the yard throughout the day. Between the inner building and the interior edge of the block, residents enjoy private gardens and balconies, while to the East, the daycare center opens onto a more protected play yard.

Englische Linie

099 AL29UC Conversion, Cologne 2014

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status: completed
program: conversion of a 29th floor penthouse into a photographer's office
location: Cologne
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Conrad Kersting, Christiane Schmidt
structural engineer: Jürgen Bernhardt
client: private
date: September 2014

At 134m high, the Uni-Center in Cologne is one of the largest residential high-rises in Europe. In addition to 1000 apartments, it has several offices and service areas. One of these, the 250 m2 penthouse atop the lowest wing of the building (29 stories) had been divided into 5 office units. With the addition of a few structurally strategic elements, dividing walls could be removed, unifying the penthouse space. With the exception of the neutral gray bathroom and technical room, the office is now composed of a fully glazed large room with a single core of exposed concrete. The glass facade was completely replaced by energy-efficient elements and provided with a large sliding system which opens East onto the roof garden. 

The conversion deals with perspective as a symbolic form. An approximately 90 cm high platform takes up most of the space. Under the platform there is space for the large number of cables which dominated the room before the renovation; these are now combined with the existing core and hidden discretely behind the bookcases which run along the edge of the platform. This simple move divides the room into two spaces: a low-lying zone along the facade and a wide, open area above. Below is the library, storage, and tea kitchen, while above are the permanent workspaces, meeting tables and a sitting area. The floor of the platform is covered with a specially designed and manufactured carpet, which—in reference to oriental patterns—contains ornamental elements such as the floor plan of the Uni-Center, the coat of arms of the building owner’s birthplace, and maritime motifs from the Gaudi tile used in the tea kitchen.

In raising the floor 90 cm, a breathtaking panoramic view extends over the balustrade of the roof garden—at a considerable 115 m—to the horizon. The world is at your feet.

Englische Linie

150 Viererfeld Competition, Bern 2018 – BeL & Christ und Gantenbein & Maurus Schifferli & Prof. Dr. Christian Schmid

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status: competition
program: housing
location: Bern
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Mariel Kaiser-Crompton, Laura Fuchs, Malte Wilms, Alina Uhlenbrock, Christiane Schmidt
team Christ & Gantenbein: Emanuel Christ, Christoph Gantenbein, Cloé Gattigo
team Maurus Schifferli: Maurus Schifferli, Melina Kistani
sociologist: Prof. Dr. Christian Schmid
client: City of Bern
date: October 2018

A Bernese Quarter

The new urban quarter on Viererfeld is being created in synergetic relation to the surrounding scenery - the Aare slope, the historic Enge promenade and the Bremgarten forest. In interpretation of the cinematic method "splitscreen," one half of the space is cast as landscape, the other half as urban. These two large figures—the city block and the city park—take up the scale of the perimeter and reinforce its magnificence with grand gestures. The city block is a typologically pure form wherein individual houses subordinate themselves to the whole, resulting in a large communal interior framed by private flats. The city park reinterprets this principle with intensive edge use and a coherent, open center. Both large figures thus oscillate between a monumental grandeur and small-scale spaces.

The linearity of Bern’s old town is continued by the city block and elevated into a principle of spatial experience. The block’s two long fronts—one facing the promenade and the other the park—locate the required density at the edge, thus leaving the largest possible space in the interior undeveloped. The continuity of the exterior co-exists with interior heterogeneity through parceling; the plot is here understood not only as a fundamental economic principle but also as a formative one. Plots allow for the realization of different house sizes (small/medium/large/very large) and economic models (building group/cooperative housing/ pension funds), creating both consistency and adaptability. This system maintains a calm exterior, while allowing the interior to develop its own qualities. It becomes a sort of ‘outside’ in its own rite; its own biotope—socially and ecologically held together by its size and character. Public paths traverse the courtyard, each breaking the perimeter at two joints—where visibility and connectivity concentrate public services—and forming three yards within the interior.

These paths connect the linear elements of promenade and block to the equally long city park. Following Camillo Sitte’s theories of irregular urban space, generous street square and park spaces are experienced in sequence, lending the quarter a heterogeneous, green, urban character. Criteria of perception and use thus produce the new Viererfeldpark, which consists of an intensively used edge and open inner commons. The spatial framework of the park is built of fine paths and high hedges, displaying a wide array of public uses along the periphery, while giving glimpses into the expansive interior. The hedges form commons of round cells aligned in a diagonal enfilade. This arrangement frames strong individual spaces, while the park’s impressive size remains visible along the axis. The circular path system circumnavigates the subspaces creating long movements, and connects the commons to the forest to the East and the new quarter to the West. Three tall houses are placed amongst the gardens to the South, accentuating the flowing space of the commons and completing an ensemble of spaces punctuated by alpine views and large oak trees.

Englische Linie

037 FRABA Production Plant, Slubice, Poland 2006

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status: completed
program: production plant
location: Slubice, Poland
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Eveline Jürgens
net floor area: 2069 m2
net volume: 9310 m3
cost: 1.200.000 €
client: FRABA Sp. z o.o, Slubice, Poland
structural engineering and site supervision: ARUP Warzaw

Balthasar Neumann Preis 2007 shortlist

As a non-hierarchical, uniformed, infinite and flexible space FRABA Sp. z o.o. is a metageneric production plant. FRABA produces electronic components for the automation industry in a non-automated manufacturing process. The products are hand assembled in small series. The assembly consists of tables, shelves and trolleys.

On a tight gross budget of 580€/m2 a prototype plant for future expansions around the globe is developed. The design reacts to location specific construction and logistic conditions for each site.

In Poland there is a sufficient supply of timber at considerable low costs compared to the conventional steel structure. With a global steel market overheated by Chinese demand and the affordable labour costs in Poland, a lightweight timber structure becomes reasonable.

The structural system consists of a 52m diameter 60°solid web beam grid. It rests on 19 17cm diameter stressed steel tube columns with a clear span of 9,70m. The shell is made of prefabricated insulated plywood elements, 14% of the roof is covered with triangular skylight domes. The top surface is aluminium coated bituminous roofing membrane. Gross floor area is 2069 m2 with an overall clearance of 4,5m. The building has mechanical and conditioned ventilation, Skylights are specifically designed for perfect daylight assembly conditions and avoid heat gains during the summer.

The circle is an optimized box. In comparison to a rectangular building of the same volume it has less surface, which in addition to saving energy, reduces construction material by up to 13%. The triangular grid minimizes the constructive complexity while offering a maximum of possible layout variations. The dimension of the triangular grid is adapted to the needs of the company; optimized for the client's production process as well as for possible future uses.

Englische Linie

170 Fabric cooperative workshop, Lörrach 2020, ongoing – BeL & Marco Merz Marion Clauss & NL Architects & ifau & META & Studio Céline Baumann & ARGUS & Transsolar

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status: workshop
program: foundation headquarter, canteen, school, workshops, experimental housing
location: Lörrach - Brombach
team BeL: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Julia Kaulen, Laura Fuchs, Leander Lentner with Marco Merz, Marion Clauss, Kamiel Klaasse, Philipp Stiebler, Susanne Heiss, Yana Kyuchukova
client: Schöpflin Stiftung
date: October 2020 - April 2021

The new Fabric-Areal is an ambiguous answer to the wishes formulated by 1600 narrators for the design of a new piece of Brombach.

Like the task, the result also contains the knowledge of many: It is characterized by the close collaboration of the four architectural firms. Most of the work was done on site and in the model, in dialog with the interdisciplinary advisory board and invited experts.

The urban design is situational and narrative, reacting to the landscape, industrial and village contexts of Brombach. The different sides of the context (residential development in the south, existing foundation site in the west, mobility hub in the north and Vacuform site in the east) are complemented and related to each other, creating a loose structure of seven playfully positioned buildings. These divide the site into a more open, landscaped section and a denser, more urban one.

The building volumes are individual characters that create a dense network of relationships between interior and exterior spaces; wide meadows and narrow alleys, representative openings and intimate niches. The heart of the site is articulated by an agora; an extension of the landscaped open space.

The hybrid buildings in timber construction are developed to remain open for future developments, energetically optimized and are occupied up to the roof area. Multiple-usable spaces, sharing potentials and communal living forms save space and resources, making the Fabric-Areal a sustainable piece of the city.

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130 Körnerplatz Competition, 2nd prize, Hannover 2016 – BeL & NL Architects

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status: competition. 2nd prize
program: student housing, kindergarten, cafe
location: Körnerplatz, Hannover
team BeL: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Michel Kleinbrahm, Gina Rauschtenberger, Leonard Palm
team NL: Kamiel Klaasse, Walter van Dijk, Pieter Bannenberg, Iwan Hameleers, Sarah Möller, Laura Riano Lopez, Alison McNeil, Jasna Kajevic, Pablo Baena Vega
structural engineer: Jürgen Bernhardt, Köln
energy consultant: Energiebüro vom Stein, Jörg vom Stein
client: Gesellschaft für Bauen und Wohnen mbH - GBH
date: July 2016

The building is a ‘solitaire’ in a garden, surrounded by a wall. The wall is urban, programmatic and formal, taking communal uses and returning them to the city. To the inside, the wall encloses the garden for the children, who can play on the green, protected from noise of the city. To the outside, it provides public bicycle parking and car sharing, space for a public café and forms a new square, the ‘Körnerplatz.’ The Christuskirche church square thus receives an add-on across Schloßwenderstraße, capping its southern end. The resulting sequence of squares incorporates all the uses of the city - housing, education, movement, commerce and worship.

The building rising above the wall is a simple compact volume made of brick. With its façade (and the unique spaces it reveals) the building responds to its location in the city. The four common spaces each have specific qualities related to their respective sides: a café opens onto the new square, a shared living room faces the church square, a laundry room and open terraces face the residential neighborhood to the South, and a living/study room face the university library. Each of these spaces make their own distinctive mark on the otherwise regular structure of the brick relief façade.

In the building, storage rooms are not assigned to the individual apartments, as is typical. By pooling the required 4.5 m2 per apartment, and adding it to the 1,5-meter-wide hallway space, a new 3-meter-wide communal space is created. The individual apartments thus become a cluster apartments. The hallway—a place of communal living in historic housing typologies—is a multifunctional space. In addition to storing items that do not fit into the apartments (racing bikes, snowboards, surfboards and suitcases), larger communal items can find a place here; kicker, work tables, large televisions, sofas, and oriental carpets turn this space into a living room. The four-to-seven residents of a hallway community can decide collectively about how to use the room, allowing the hallway to reflect the community it serves.

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131.3 Quartier Spielbudenplatz: Housing Competition, 1st prize, Hamburg-St. Pauli 2016-2020 – BeL & NL Architects

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status: in progress
program: housing
location: St. Pauli, Hamburg
team BeL: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Christiane Schmidt, Alia Mortada, Julia Kaulen, Michel Kleinbrahm, Jonas Läufer, Wolfgang Zeh
team NL: Kamiel Klaasse, Kirsten Hüsig, Laura Riano Lopez, Pieter Bannenberg, Guilia Pastore, Jasna Kajevic
structural engineer: Jürgen Bernhardt, Cologne
client: Bayerische Hausbau GmbH & Co. KG., Bezirksamt Hamburg Mitte
date: August 2016

Plot 3 is composed of three residential buildings: the ‘Liège’ tower, the ‘Gradient’ building, and the Zigzag house. Each has access to the communal courtyard and features a public or communal roof function. Most prominent of these is the basketball court, which crowns the gradient building. Accessed by a public staircase between the Liege tower and the gradient building, it is connected by a setback at the sixth floor of the tower to ‘Park Fiction 2.0’ and the rooftop restaurant of Plot 1, completing a network of public roof spaces.  

The 11-storey Liege tower is a small high-rise building; it lives from the flats' view of the city. Each floor has four units, oriented to one side, with additional sunlight and views provided by its characteristic projecting winter gardens, which function as balcony in the summer and additional room in the winter. At ground level, Liège is set back from the street, creating a small square. The 24-hour shop here has a large canopy reminiscent of the old Esso petrol station. The square preludes the ascent upwards to the public roofs, while the half-height setback at the 6th floor enables the connection of basketball court and Park Fiction 2.0. At this junction a large penthouse, a common room for indoor activities or a superintendent office can be created

The Gradient building features flats of different sizes, accessed via arcade. The flats get progressively larger towards the corner, creating a surreal perspective effect; a kind of trompe-l'oeil. The motto is not ‘one size fits all,’ but ‘one size for everyone.’ To exploit natural light, the largest flat inhabits the corner, while the arcade is pushed back from the East façade, creating a private threshold and balconies. To the West, mini balconies enjoy evening sun over Taubenstraße and foster interaction with the street.

With a communal children's play area on the roof, the zigzag house completes the ensemble. It cleverly exploits spacing to look in all directions. It is a three-story building with a twisted floor plan; the flats have qualities that are otherwise only possible in a free-standing building. They are designed to be open to different occupancies: residents can live or sleep facing the Kastanienallee as well as the street. The balconies and loggias provide deep streetscapes or catch the western sun on the courtyard side.

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125 Euroforum Competition, Special Prize: Façade, Cologne 2016

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status: competition. special prize façade
program: housing, workshops, retail
location: Mülheim, Cologne
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Christiane Schmidt, Matthias Hoffmann, Michel Kleinbrahm, Gina Rauschtenberger, Leonard Palm, Wolfgang Zeh
client: Euroforum Nord GmbH & Co. KG
date: January 2016

The two solitary structures--containing a total of 350 dwellings--inherit their scale, and many of their characteristics, from the industrial architecture of the neighborhood’s past. They maintain a strict structure in their construction and design; the repetition of rational elements lending a calm, impassive presence to the simple building volumes.

The urban outdoor space is diverse and lively. Ground-level residential studios strengthen the creative potential of the area through the mixture of living and working. The urban exteriors stand in contrast to the paradisiac shared interiors, which also offer a habitat for animals and plants. All apartments have at least two types of light and views; looking out, the space is lively and urban, while looking in, it is tranquil and green.

The clear separation of the outside and the inside is reflected in the design of the façades. The street-side façades are clad with prefabricated concrete. While their horizontal structure is homogeneous with soft repetitions, the individual levels differ significantly from one another. This vertical differentiation creates a sculptural relief with diverse and invigorating shadows. In the courtyards, volumes are projected to maximize the surface of the block. The façades are thus uniformly designed as wooden elements; their warm and simple forms adding to the peaceful character of the courtyards.

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070 Big Plate Competition, Oslo, Norway 2009

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status: competition
program: National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design at Vestbanen
location: Oslo, Norway
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Kristina Eickmeier, Wolfgang Zeh
gross floor area: 36.000 m2
client: Statsbygg, Oslo
date: June 2009

Vestbanen is a void waiting to be charged. The modest size of the remaining landmarked station buildings is as absurdly disproportionate to the scale of the site as it is to the importance of the National Museum. To incorporate the large building masses into this delicate context, museum and office functions are assigned to two separate volumes. They share the same urban density but can be developed and realized individually. The museum is a horizontal slab, the office building a diverse vertical volume. Both typologies are derived from the immediate physical and historical context. Both pay tribute to the neighboring urban fabric and the landmarked station buildings.

Assimilating to the scale of the station buildings in height, the museum fosters the dignity of the landmarks without dwarfing them. Its magnitude as a National Museum is developed in the horizontal plane. Its vast footprint stems from the typologies of shipyards as well as train stations. It is modest in height but exuberant in depth. The new museum occupies the entire site, there is no figure ground relationship. There is no museum object but an all-embracing museum volume. The expansive footprint invigorates the existing public exteriors. There is an abundance of public space in the context. Triangular sculpture gardens charge the existing public spaces in front of the museum entrances.

The National Museum will stimulate intense urban density on the site. All public functions are at ground level. The public permeates into the museum through the open ground floor façade. The flatness of the new museum is horizontal monumentality. It is a deep space illuminated by controlled natural light. The friendly gallery maze is an open system to be appropriated by the public in time.

A universal enfilade system provides total flexibility and unlimited but controlled access. The low hierarchy of the spaces fosters incidental use and self-determination. The Lofted Archive is an indestructible container. It serves as a machine to preserve the cultural achievements of a society, which need to be stored and maintained. Serviced by functional cores and illuminated by light shafts, it's a heavy-duty workspace, forklift accessible.

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178 Siedlung Rotbuch Competition, Zürich 2020 – BeL & Marco Merz Marion Clauss

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status: competition
program: housing
location: Zürich - Unterstrass
team BeL: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Julia Kaulen, Leander Lentner with Marco Merz, Marion Clauss, Olivia Schmidt
client: Stiftung Einfach Wohnen
date: December 2020

The new Rotbuch-settlement is composed of an unequal double; two house ‚characters‘ that complement the colorful image of the neighborhood.

The larger, angled townhouse is oriented towards the street and forms a generous green corner against the intersection, while the smaller garden-house joins the group of second-row-houses placed in the topography. Together, these characters mediate between the scales of the surroundings, continue the open building structure and seek a self-evident presence in the midst of the beautiful vegetation.

The townhouse is developed as a dense package of rooms with common spaces of various scale and use. Floor communities of different micro apartment sizes (1-, 2-, and 3-rooms), intentionally located next to each other create mixed-age, mixed-living-model communities around South-facing, shared living rooms. The living spaces emerge from within the structure of the building; open spaces supplemented only by the adjoining smart-closet bathrooms.

The garden-house leaves space for the large existing Larch and has a clear, simple structure and layout. Kindergarten and Day-care share the first floor along the garden with morning sun, while above are two maisonette-cluster apartments with a communal terrace.

The heart of the new ensemble is the collective courtyard between the two buildings. High-crowned trees shade the gravel square. Connecting the two access roads, it offers space for communal activities and meetings, becoming the center of gravity for the settlement.

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072 Grundbau und Siedler Self-Build Housing, IBA Hamburg 2013

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status: completed
program: self-build housing
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Christiane Schmidt, Wolfgang Zeh, Leonard Wertgen, Fréderic Schnee
structural engineer: Jürgen Bernhardt, Cologne
HVACR: Energie und Technik, Sittensen
client: Primus AG
gross floor area: 1.352 m2
cost: 1.200.000 €, 830 €/m2 BGF
completion: March 2013

Deutscher Architekturpreis 2013, honorable mention
Universal Design Award 2013 , Universal Design Consumer Favorite 2013

construction manual for settlers
>>> DOWNLOAD HERE


Grundbau und Siedler explores how lower income groups can become home owners. This project was originally developed in the framework of the IBA Hamburg 2013 for the urban district of Wilhelmsburg. The dominant typology in this area is the allotment garden hut, in the 1970s large social housing complexes were also erected there. Although the theme of these developments was "urbanity through density", they are neither densely built nor do they succeed in producing any sense of urbanity.

The project by BeL stretches the typology of the hut to multi-storey housing – a skeleton provides the basic frame, its different stories can be individually filled out, both spatially and over a period of time, by the residents themselves employing self-build methods. The future home-owners buy a package consisting of a plot within a basic, concrete-built skeleton, all the building materials needed to develop their plot, and a handbook giving detailed instructions on all the steps necessary for the development work.

In warmer climatic zones Le Corbusier's Domino House principle from 1914 has proved its value as a successful construction system for informal housing developments. Aashwa´i in Cairo, Polykatoikia in Athens, Gececondu in Istanbul, and Favela in Sao Paulo confirm the superiority of the Domino construction principle – and not just from the viewpoint of costs. It is a shelf that provides ideal conditions for a mix of functions; a surplus of space creates a flexible basis to be appropriated by future extensions, conversions and adaptations. The open basic structure allows flexibility over a long period of time.

Applying the Domino principle in Germany today requires specialized materials and details in order to satisfy the demands made by highly developed post-industrial societies regarding comfort, economy and ecology. The Grundbau or skeleton has a single staircase serving three units on each floor, the structure is five-storeys high and offers twelve sites for settlers. Each of the upper four stories has three units, whereas the ground floor contains the settlers' private workshops, car parking spaces, the public utilities connection room and the approach to the open staircase.

The settlers acquire a complete kit of building components to erect a typical settler's house. This kit contains all the construction material. A detailed handbook describes the steps that they can carry out themselves, as well as indicating those areas of work that must be approved by a specialist. The organization of the floor plans is independent of the load-bearing structure and the neighboring stories. All versions of the typical floor plan in the settlers' kit address different housing needs (the number of persons, lifestyle etc.) and changes of function over time (a growing family, the advent of old age, change of user). A set of functionally neutral spaces is offered with an abundant number of doors. Consequently, the users can employ whatever function they wish. All the rooms are connected to each other; each room has openings to its neighbors. The large number of doors allows the rooms to be grouped as required. For instance: one family may want a large bathroom with a view, whereas another may use this room as a child's bedroom. Each dwelling has two service shafts that are positioned at the intersection of the partition walls and can serve three rooms.

The settlers decide what the rooms will be used for. Flexibility results from use and not through adaptation. Functionally indeterminate spaces in a floor plan without corridors require the settlers to interpret and conquer their own space. In the 1:50 scale configuration model (contained in the building kit) the settlers can examine which ways of using the spaces work best for them. Those who wish so can ignore the recommendations and the material offered in the building kit and can improvise. Settlers can reject the guidelines within their own plot, everyone has the right to make their own mistakes and improvements. The Grundbau contains everything needed to build and operate a unit; the settlers can use the workshop spaces on the ground floor from day one and can run their own construction site from there. The Grundbau has railings making scaffolding unnecessary, the settlers can carry out their work from the 70-cm wide strip of balcony.

Englische Linie

139 Postfassade Facade Competition, Honourable Mention, Cologne 2017

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status: facade competition, honourable mention
program: housing, boarding house, co-working space / vertical village principle
location: Cologne
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Laura Fuchs, Amelie Bimberg, Jonas Läufer, Leonard Palm, Wolfgang Zeh
client: CG Group
date: August 2017

With their Post Office 3, Cologne, Joachim and Margot Schürmann monumentally, finely and humanely inserted an infrastructural building into the city. The BDA prize-wining Post Office 3 is a very serious work of architecture. In the tradition of great architects, the Schürmanns produced a whole in which all its considerations—from urban positioning to material dimensioning—interlock perfectly. In the 35 years since its design, however, the digital revolution has radically changed the industrial needs of the post. Conversion of the city block-sized building to living quarters therefore makes sense, but cannot be approached as a typical industrial building conversion. To preserve the spirit of Post Office 3 as it is adapted for a second cycle of use, requires the humble work of apprehension and analysis. The internal logic of the building, its principles and rules, must serve as the basis for its metamorphosis. 

One can see in its size, proportion and volumetric articulation, a reference to the palazzo of the Italian Renaissance at work in the Schürmanns design. They structured the building both vertically (in the base zone, middle zone and roof) and horizontally (in an overarching axial symmetry with emphases center and corner) according to classical rules. They then filled the exterior load-bearing skeleton of the post office with window bands and masonry bands, combining their pre-modern principles of structure and proportion with modern, precise construction. Consistent detailing is a principle of all good architecture; a labor which here resulted in concrete structures, masonry, metalwork and glasswork of outstanding quality. This uniquely modern glasswork (for the walkways along the street, the interior courtyard ring, and staircase to the roof) taken in tandem with the open terraces and stairs of the corners, expresses the final principle of the design: the life of the building is made visible. Joachim and Margot Schürmann have translated the movements of the people into architectural form.

These features form the basis for the new façade concept: transparent solidity. The façade becomes a climatic and acoustic space for habitation, allowing for the preservation of the buildings exquisite detailing (designed to fulfill 30-year-old energy requirements). A loggia is closed off with glass blocks and single-glazed reversible windows, extending the compact living spaces of the interior and inviting residents to vary connection to the outdoor space. From a distance, the classical solidity of the building’s preserved volumes is reinforced by the shiny surfaces of its materials, while from close-up, the façade reveals its multi-layeredness and new residential content. The new division of the flats in the floor plan is perceptible in the subtle rhythm of the reversible windows while the newly added upper floors introduce a slight syncopation to the western façade. The clear, slightly turquoise glass blocks fit effortlessly into the building’s dimensions and together with glazed brick parapets they introduce light blue and light green into the pallet of beige, grey and white. The tiled floor of the loggia adds a warm pink to the mix, without overpowering the façade. This new colorful residential character is repeated in the inner courtyard, where generous tiled terraces adopt the brick parapet, stepping back with each floor and providing all units with direct access to the sky.

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083 Guest house Conversion Project, St. Eloois Winkel, Belgium 2011

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status: conversion project
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Maike Basista, Wolfgang Zeh
net floor area: 45 m2
client: Julie & Michel Vandenbroucke
costs: 100.000 €
date: July 2011

The Guest House project is based on BeL's personal experience as guests and temporary inhabitants of the Vandenbroucke residence.

Built fifteen years ago in the style of a fermette, the residence has been dramatically renovated by 51N4E. Their radical transformation opens the conventional plan to a multitude of functional programs. Gutting the existing house and adding an exterior space enclosed by a steel wall, the boundaries of exterior and interior are blurred completely. Domesticity is given a new significance, the fluid spaces offer a multitude of interpretations. In its ambiguity the house is an architectural manifesto and a home at the same time. It is a spatial portrait of the residents, an open house, happily awaiting guests.

With a guest program in mind particular functional limitations of the transformed residence become evident. Guests outside of the owner's personal realm intrude upon the latter's intimacy and have demands for their own privacy themselves. Two essential architectural shortcomings emerge from this programmatic friction.

The Guest House project enhances the functional performance of the house to meet the extra demands of a guest program. Additional space is generated within the existing building. The Guest House is not a detached or added annex but expands into the interior. It is extra space discovered inside of the building. It enables independence of individual users, supplying alternative spaces to be appropriated by guests and hosts.

The Guest House is a miniature house hidden within the existing building. It's a parallel realm of complementary space waiting to be occupied by either guest or host. It offers a diversity of rooms in a spatial continuum. It is small in scale, yet a whole new universe. Searching for the remaining voids left by 51N4E's transformation, the Guest House exhausts the building's volumetric capacity. With a minimum of alterations it strives for a maximum of space, retrieving surplus volume to residential use.

Challenging the visible and invisible thresholds of the occupants, the Guest House emphasizes their modes of dwelling and pushes the margins of cohabitation.

Englische Linie

103 Briesestraße Conversion, Berlin 2013

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status: project
program: low cost housing, conversion of a parking garage into housing
location: Briesestraße, Berlin
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Matthias Hoffmann, Aaron Schirrmann, Christiane Schmidt, Wolfgang Zeh
structural engineer: Jürgen Bernhardt, Cologne
client: Senatsbaudirektion Berlin, Stadt und Land Wohnungsbau-Gesellschaft, Berlin
date: December 2013

The Conversion of the Breisestraße Car Park – A model for Berlin

The conversion of a multi-story car park cautiously densifies the neighborhood with minimal capital, offering room for a community of 91 people. Construction costs of 828 € / m2 NF allow the tenant to pay a monthly rent of only 6.50 € / m2, ensuring equitable housing opportunities. The project is a model for Berlin; the Briesestraße Car Park serves as prototypical scheme, applicable to all d'Humpy system car parks.

All measures to improve the substance of the car park are carried out following the principle of least intervention. The removal of prefabricated ceiling elements enables light to flood in from above into private courtyards, allowing all flats to receive light from two sides. With minimal effort, the car park is thus transformed into a series of courtyard houses, each offering a range of apartment types formed within the ceiling panel grid.

A differentiated open walkway winds itself as a Rue Intérieure through the house with continuous natural light and visual connection to the outside world. Not only does this street provide bike, skateboard and scooter-friendly entry to the interior private courtyard houses, but it enables communal occupation, appropriation and adaptation through a series of common areas: guest rooms, workshops, kiosks, bike rooms, etc. After beginning near the multi-purpose hall on the ground floor, the Rue Intérieure, winds its way up the ramps through the building, culminating in the in the roof terrace, where residents can meet, play, relax and grill.

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052 Costeras Competition, Sardinia, Italy 2008 – BeL & Büro für Konstruktivismus

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status: competition
architecture: BeL & Büro für Konstruktivismus
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Sandra Bartoli, Silvan Linden, Adria Daraban
client: Regione Autonoma della Sardegna
date: September 2007

Marceddi, Torre Salinas, you click it on the browser and fall on planet Earth from the heights of the stratosphere. Flying in on forests, sea, lagune, zooming into spontaneous trails between groves and fields, unplanned open areas along the coast, hidden camping facilities, scruffy mountains, draught areas, stray animals, rivers, curves of silver, fishes, boulders, dust. The entire island is full of beauty, even in beautiful sad places such as Marceddì, or the desert-like splendour of the lagune in Torre Salinas. From these simple observations and the use of Google Earth we developed the idea to produce new aerial photos of the two places. These aerial images - rather paintings than plans - intend to be new realities, assumptions of a future landscape, parallel to the current situation.

We travel through Sardinia in search of our own modern Arcadia.
Everything starts with the landscape: cultural and natural landscape.
The landscape is Sardinia's asset.
The landscape rather than buildings will serve as a catalyst for identity and urbanization.
The landscape becomes richer: it grows instead of disappearing.
The landscape saturates in its qualities: it becomes greener, bluer, wetter, dryer, thicker, airier, etc.
The consequence is the bonding of foreign and native, work and free time, nature and culture, good and bad.
Tourists and Sardinians live together in the same place: minimal separation and no boundaries
Tourism in a real Sardinia: it's not a theme park. All material comes from the site.
Minimal impact with moderate alterations corresponds to feasible economic principles.

Everything starts with aerial composites of the existing.
A thorough analysis in detail leads to the recognition of the existing qualities.
The image and the landscape are not identical. But once having reworked the image we've already affected the landscape.
The image, and consequently the landscape, is quantifiable.
It is about reaching critical mass to understand the relation of the landscape and its use. (The point when a landscape becomes periphery, a tourist village a sprawled strip, etc.)
Local retouching: all material comes from the site.
The result of the work is a perfect aerial image, we have found Arcadia, an idealized landscape.

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164 New Garden City Oejendorf, Landscape City Urban Planning Study, Hamburg 2020 –

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status: urban planning study
program: housing, landscape, public open spaces, kindergarten, school, farming
location: Oejendorf, Hamburg
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Alina Uhlenbrock, Emmet Elliott, Tessa Gaunt, Leander Lentner
nature conservation and landscape planner: Planungemeinschaft Marienau, Bleckede
traffic planner: ARGUS Stadt und Verkehr Partnerschaft mbB, Hamburg
client: City of Hamburg
date: January 2020

The New Garden City Öjendorf is not a garden city, but a landscape city.

The space of fields framed with hedgerows, leading in gentle topography through oak avenues to the Öjendorf cemetery and Lake Öjendorf, contrasts in its original, beautiful, man-made, landscape character with the surrounding settlement space. The design attempts to create a symbiosis of landscape and development and to carefully refine the site.

The development is interpreted as a system of landscape halls that are habitats for people, animals and plants. A context for people is established via enfilades, while the thick floral walls form the habitat for animals. 

The field communities are developed as courtyard variants in relation to the landscape. The character of each ensemble is developed for the specific character of its field. A minimally invasive circulation system ties the twelve courtyard communities together, while each remains open to the landscape. Each flat, therefore, has views of the ecologically dense field edge. City and landscape city combine in view and movement.

The landscape city is the work of many. It relies on the commitment of its residents - in the planning, in the self-construction, in the maintenance and in the management. The design is not a final formal image, but a robust framework for living in the landscape.

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181 Stadtbad Krefeld Workshop, Krefeld 2021

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status: workshop
program: architectural study and workshop for the conversion of a public bathhouse into a small-business incubator
location: Krefeld
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Laura Fuchs, Leander Lentner
client: GGK Grundstücksgesellschaft der Stadt Krefeld mbH und Co.
date: May 2021

In the Stadtbad Krefeld, everything is already there. Renewed with light interventions, it reveals itself an open, public incubation center for small businesses.
New spaces emerge through opening, adding or minimal subtractions; alterations all complimented with playful furnishing.
The formerly introverted building is—through a plethora of new entrances—made public.
There are cold, lukewarm and warm rooms; the diversity of climates serves a diversity of uses.
Rooms can be rented on a daily or monthly basis, with select by-the-hour rooms for special engagements.
The spaces are evenly divided into very small, small, middle, large and very large rooms—a fitting size for everyone.
Circulation spaces are shared and multi-functional; they foster run-ins and adjust themselves to the requirements of their users.
The gardens and the pools in block's interior create a magical atmosphere. The block becomes public, but this atmosphere is preserved.

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068 Radstation Competition, Mülheim an der Ruhr 2009

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status: competition - honorable mention
program: bicycle stand and kiosk
location: Mülheim an der Ruhr
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Sebastian Haufe, Philipp Schneider, Wolfgang Zeh
gross floor area: 90 m2
cost: 120.000 €
client: Stadt Mülheim an der Ruhr
date: May 2009

The new harbor square will be a lively, public space for city of Mülheim in the future. With its northern end, the bike station adopts the building line of the  adjacent residential buildings, forming the southern end of  the ‘Hafenplatz,’ the harbor square. The bike station is not a piece of street furniture, but a small public building. It is modeled on the urban loggias of the Italian Renaissance and the neoclassical drinking halls of 19th century Badish architecture. As a new building block in the urban fabric, the bike station establishes a connection with the larger public buildings on the banks of the Ruhr. The public bath, public hall and the city hall shape the character of Mülheim, their limestone facades and arcades defining a measured, dignified urbanity. The bike station continues these arcade spaces, a new interpretation of Hafenplatz.

The building is vertically divided into two zones. The ground floor houses the kiosk, bicycle parking and the transformer station. The transformer is clad in simple white steal, doubling as urban furniture. 34 bicycle parking spaces are created by the columns in the fully covered area, with twelve additional parking spaces possible along the edges. The walk-in kiosk has a sliding glass façade and mobile furniture, allowing for a variety of configurations. When the glass facade is open, a space without thresholds is created, the boundaries between public space, bicycle parking and the kiosk's lounge zone dissolve. The occupation of the loggia with multiple functions creates a covered public space which becomes an active part of the city through informal use.

The attic zone of the building has several functions. In urban space, it creates the necessary presence of a small public building, giving the eaves a height of 5.1 meters. The trusses form a light coffered ceiling, framing lamps and bringing a soft, diffuse carpet of light to the square in the evenings. The exterior facades of the attic offer a canvas for the artistic examination of the city. In a separate call for tenders, an artistic work in the tradition of the frieze can be commissioned here.

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152 Alternative Histories Exhibition, London, Brussels, Dublin 2019-2021

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status: contribution to the exhibition “Alternative Histories”
program: model
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser,
Mariel Kaiser-Crompton, Alina Uhlenbrock, Laura Fuchs
client: Drawing Matter, The Architecture Foundation,
Marius Grootveld, Jantje Engels
date: March 2019

BeL (*2000), Anne-Julchen Bernhardt (*1971) and Jörg Leeser (*1967): On Walter Pichler's Sketch for the Underground City, 1960-64, Model, 2019, metal, concrete, plaster, paint, foam, wood, pastel calk, wood glue, paper, coal, styrofoam, plastic, play dough, sandpaper and plasticine.

The selected drawing – a light-hearted but somewhat nervous sketch bearing the title “Sketch for the Underground City” – belongs to an early body of work by Walter Pichler.
Working on abstract, hypothetical cities and buildings, Pichler questions the relationship of oppositional systems and investigates into positive and negative space, the designed and the found object, movement in space and movement of space. He is fascinated with infrastructure, spatial networks and the architecture of transition.

Over the course of four years he produced several series of drawings and objects, as the first seem to be mostly investigative and only occasionally presentation drawings, the latter are artifacts of meticulous craftsmanship in metal, concrete and plaster. Resting in time as singular entities, they obtain an almost transcendental aura; their painstakingly precise and slow process of making is inscribed into their abstract yet detailed manifestation. Form, space, light, material and surface are taken into the realm of fetish objects, the Sublime hovers within and around them.

The enigmatic objects are called Compact Building, Underground Building, Mouth of an Underground City, Core of an Underground City, Building over Infrastructure and Underground Building with extendable core. There is no record of an object titled the Underground City, the selected drawing solemnly bears that name.

Our model is neither abstract nor enigmatic but concrete. It is a model not an object. Its simple stereometric volumes are directly taken from Pichler's sketch. As a feasibility study it explores possible levels of detail Pichler's sublime objects would have faced, if they had been taken as representative model in an architectural process. The model is in search of the inherent beauty of the ordinary, it emphatically embraces the everyday, where the Sublime is just around the corner. Still, the Underground City remains the Other Space, pink cavities crouch underneath the surface.

pictures 11–17: Walter Pichler: “Skulpturen, Gebäude, Projekte”,
Residenz Verlag, Salzburg, Wien, 1992

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004 Perimeter City Competition, Jarfälla 2001

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status: competition
program: low cost housing
location: Jarfälla, Sweden
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser
date: January 2001

The site is a typical Scandinavian landscape preserved by the oldest Swedish Airport.
Traditional Swedish farms blur the threshold between cultivated and uncultivated terrain.
Old Swedish Farms incorporate the seasonal climates into specific architectural elements.
Each dwelling has its own personal panorama created through the circular lots.
Half paved dirt roads allow circulation of pedestrians and access traffic.
A non-hierarchical distribution creates a hybrid landscape condition of scattered dwellings.
Multi-use appliances adapt to the seasonal program.
In winter use the functions contract to a minimum program of interiority.
In summer use the functions expand to a maximum program of exteriority.

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158 Alterswohnen am Ufertal Competition, 1st prize, Neunburg vorm Wald 2019

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status: in progress
program: cooperative housing
location: Neunburg vorm Wald
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser,
Alina Uhlenbrock, Julia Kaulen, Mariel Kaiser-Crompton,
Christian Kühnle, Laura Fuchs
structural engineer: Dr.-Ing. Arne Künstler, Frankfurt
client: 9BÜRGER eG Wohnungsbaugenossenschaft i.G.
date: July 2019

Arising in relation to the landscape, this new ensemble is composed of three parts: house, shed and yard. It is a cooperative living project for people over 50; people who want to begin the next phase of life in a lively and social environment.  

The house consists of 19 living units, a common room with kitchen, a shared bathroom and a guest room for visitors. Opposite is the shed—a large simple roof—for storage and work. Between these two structures is the communal yard. It is a space of movement and unplanned encounters: neighbors pass by, hang out, or repair their bikes; all the action is here.

The building is accessed via a long arcade, ramped to match the topography. The use of standard German accessibility standards is here formalized into a terraced social space and the structural backbone of the building: the residential units are stepped down along the slope of the ramp. The house is likewise staggered in plan, with the different flat sizes arranged according to their size. Facing south towards the arcade, each flat has a glazed, unheated veranda. It serves as a terrace in summer, enlarges the living space in the transitional periods and creates a threshold space between the communal arcade and private living quarters. 

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051 ISO Adaptable Trade-Fair System 2009

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status: completed
program: adaptable trade-fair-system
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Adria Daraban, Max Schoeneich, Wolfgang Zeh
gross floor area: 3 - 200 m2
client: FRABA AG
date: 2009 - 2014

Evolving from DIN display system ISO provides improved flexibility, rapid assembly time and minimized payload. Presented on a worldwide campaign the ISO universal system has to comply with numerous international standards. ISO is nomadic architecture, it features lightweight elements, easy to carry and easy to assemble. Traditionally fabric is used to create shelters, ISO deploys a curtain/carpet made of customized injection molded polycarbonate snap-on tiles. ISO is a non-spatial concept. The elements can be applied in an infinite number of configurations on a multiplicity of trade fair lots. The possible organizational patterns are based on rules of proximity. Depending on the specific context the client can choose from a large array of possible set ups.

Iso is an attempt at nothingness. The spatial presence of the individual objects is reduced to the bare structural necessities. In an almost tribal simplicity, illumination is provided by lampposts. Tables and chairs have an intermediate height between chairs and bar stools to allow informal communication.

The grandeur of ISO's delicateness is a remedy to the barren environment of trade fairs. ISO is a satisfactory combination of austerity and pomp.

Englische Linie

096 Gumprechtstraße Conversion, Cologne-Ehrenfeld, 2014

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status: completed
program: conversion of a landmark blacksmith workshop into a living/working space
location: Ehrenfeld, Cologne
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Matthias Hoffmann
structural engineer: Jürgen Bernhardt, Cologne
client: Bahar Bayrak and Harry Schmid
date: June 2014

Kölner Architekturpreis 2014, Honourable Mention

Ehrenfeld is a quarter of Cologne where living and working are traditionally combined. Typical for this area are small workshops in the backyards of street front houses. In this project, one of these small industrial halls, a protected former blacksmith's workshop from 1902, is converted into a living and working space for a small family and their business.The building consists of a small two-storey office house and a 10 by 25 m sawtooth-roof hall. The relatively small rooms of the office house are converted into an intimate living area for the family with bedrooms and a central open kitchen. The big hall is used as a free open space that can be used for working and living. At special occasions it can be converted into a showroom for the company's products: BMX bikes.

The protected building, which was in a very bad condition as a result of being out of use for decades, was completely restored in terms of structure, insulation and surfaces. Original and new architectonic elements and surfaces blend together to produce a timeless atmosphere, neither old nor new.

The main spatial intervention consists of cutting out a new patio from the volume of the industrial hall. One space is converted into two: an interior and an exterior space.
The interior space that used to have an almost claustrophobic atmosphere, the only connection to the outside being translucent skylights, is combined with an exterior space of light and air that can be used as an outdoor living room.

The two spaces are connected via a big sliding door that can be opened over the full width of ten meters. Thus, the separation of the rooms blurs in summer – living and working can take place inside and outside - whereas in winter you can watch the rain and snow fall into the patio from inside.

Englische Linie

118 Quartier Spielbudenplatz Urban Design Competition, 1st prize, Hamburg-St.Pauli 2015 – BeL & NL Architects

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status: in progress
program: multi-use; housing, hotel, shopping, entertainment etc.
location: St. Pauli, Hamburg
team BeL: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Paula Frasch, Matthias Hoffmann, Conrad Kersting, Christiane Schmidt, Wolfgang Zeh
team NL: Kamiel Klaasse, Kirsten Huesig, Barbora Hlavackova, Laura Riano Lopez, Laura Nazzari, Guilia Pastore
client: Bayerische Hausbau GmbH & Co. KG, Bezirksamt Hamburg Mitte
date: August 2015

St. Pauli is a neighborhood of Hamburg known for its red-light district and for its coexistence of extremes. ‘Der Kiez’ is a unique biotope for sub-cultures, one of the rare strongholds in the resistance against Disneyfication. The tenants here struggled for years to save the Esso Häuser from demolition, but after a forced eviction in December 2013, the protest's focus switched towards securing the return of tenants to a new building. Under the auspices of the so-called PlanBude an intense participation process with the citizens of St. Pauli took place. The PlanBude formulated the St. Pauli Code by conducting interviews and collecting over 2000 suggestions, wherein residents used drawings, clay models and letters to express their hopes and fantasies. This extraordinary bottom-up process formed the basis for an urban planning competition to develop the now vacant plot of slightly over 6.000 m² on the Reeperbahn.

The St. Pauli code in short:
1. Diversity instead of uniformity
2. Small-scaledness
3. Affordable instead expensive
4. Originality and tolerance
5. Appropriation and vitality
6. Experiment and subculture
7. Public space without consumerism

Is it possible to safeguard (or even catalyze) the specific character of St. Pauli in anything new?

The urban plan is based on a strategy of small parcels, ´Kleinteilig', in order to guarantee diversity. The overall plot will be subdivided in five properties, assorted according to their usage. This so-called Realteilung is deployed both as a social and an economic tool. Specific residential typologies are separated and organized into a series of individual buildings. Within each building, identical units are simply stacked; this lack of internal complexity keeps construction costs—and thus apartments—affordable. At the same time, the homogeneity within each building meets the heterogeneity of the entire complex on the streets.

This results in an urban complexity exemplified by the ground floor. It features 42 doors, providing access for residents and a cocktail of public functions. This sparking potential exchanges within the city; interactions are an instrument of tolerance. This street life is also diversified and organized through several tactics. Residential buildings are placed along the quieter Kastananienallee side of the development, while the hotel is placed on the much livelier Spielbudenplatz. To increase density and deal with zoning regulations, a new street is added to the site, greatly increasing the public perimeter of the block. Through an offsetting of the building mass at the street’s entrance, it creates a public space protected from the noise and reveling of the Reeperbahn. To this space, a collection of communal roofs, a shared courtyard, and a public balcony are added, completing an armada of places where the sub-cultures of St. Pauli, young creatives, hotel guests, residents of the apartments, families and the elderly can all mix and mingle.

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159 Baufeld 84 Competition, 3rd prize, Hamburg 2019

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status: competition. 3rd prize
program: housing
location: Baakenhafen, HafenCity, Hamburg
team: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Jörg Leeser, Julia Kaulen, Alina Uhlenbrock
client: Hamburger Wohnen eG & building cooperative „AMIGO“
date: August 2019

The transformation of the ‘hafen’ (harbor) into HafenCity is a challenge. Where once large-scale mono-functionality of harbor basins, crane facilities and quay sheds dominated, a small-scale mixed quarter is now emerging. This project seeks to weave these strands—of place, identity, function, construction, space and material—together. The industrial grandeur remains tangible; the openness of the formerly mono-functional large remains present in the small-scale mixed.

This begins with the structure of the building, a hybrid of skeleton and load-bearing bulkhead construction. This three-nave masonry pier structure is the unifying essence of the building, binding together space, material and façade. Its neutral spatial structure enables the construction of 30 different flat types with specific requirements for divisibility, switch-ability and, in some cases, very determinate dimensions. Changes in family or occupant structure throughout the entire house can thus be accommodated without structural interference. Thanks to short spans, composite timber ceilings and prefabricated elements are possible, reducing carbon-hungry materials and allowing for easy re- and deconstruction. On the facades, the structure is reinterpreted as functional ornamentation. This restrained narrative is contextual: it is a masonry building on the harbor. Was there before? Is it a converted warehouse building? The visible structure, the ordinariness of living and its prominent location make for a quietly peculiar building.

The terp-formed pedestal facing the Versmannstraße and the promenade along the wharf below result in the building’s two ground floors. The plan development follows, subtly differentiating the building into two volumes: an L-shaped structure—eight stories to the North and five to the South—sits atop the terp, while a four-story cube faces onto the promenade. Offset by half a story, but with an aligned parapet, they form a split-level building which is nevertheless legible as an independent body; first cut in, then exposed. The upper ground floor is hidden from the street by its neighbor—the communal entrance courtyard is reached through a passage—while the lower ground floor perforates the terp wall modestly, connecting it with the promenade. Here the 1,5-floor high ‘Quarter-pipe’ communal space is accessible from both sides, constituting the first of the buildings various communal spaces. Others include a play place at ground level, a communal kitchen/terrace and multiple roof gardens. These spaces, the two volumes, and the apartments themselves are united through a single external stair: the social heart of the building. The staircase creates an address and an identity, offering easy ascent through the split levels, casual interactions, and —from the 4th floor upwards—views onto the Hamburg harbor.

Englische Linie

177 Zukunft Leonhardsvorstadt Urban Planning Game, Stuttgart 2021 – BeL & Studio Malta

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status: project
program: participatory design game for the IBA’27 StadtRegion Stuttgart, example for a good communal life (pre-planning)
location: Leonhardsvorstadt, Stuttgart
team BeL: Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Laura Fuchs, Leander Lentner
team Studio Malta: Marta Toscano, Aaron Schirrmann, Aida Nejad and team Belius: Andreas Foidl, Andreas Krüger
client: IBA’27 StadtRegion Stuttgart
date: August 2020- Oktober 2020

Many changes are in store for Leonhardsvorstadt. The two parking garages are to be replaced by new buildings. New apartments can be built; a new center can emerge with spaces for the community and for the neighborhood, with a film and media house creating a cultural focus point for the city.
The entire Leonhardsvorstadt should benefit from this tailwind: the residents, those who work and shop here, the guests, the young and the old, but before the planning of the Neue Mitte begins with a co