A new chapter for an icon of Berlin’s city history: In 2016 Martin Jasper and his team at JASPER ARCHITECTS created the winning design for the competition organized by SIGNA, for an overall transformation of the former "Centrum Warenhaus" department store, built in 1979. The competition task was to present a concept to turn this massive squared building block of 80x80 m and 62,700 m2 into office space for the digital era.
The department store was originally conceived as an introverted building without openings. That principle had to be reversed: the natural lighting was a major challenge. As a first step, the building was gutted - the entire existing facade was removed, and the building block was reduced to its concrete skeleton.
What remained, was a regular grid of concrete columns and four empty cores. Parts of the history of the building were uncovered: the patina of decades of history became visible as well as old technical infrastructure and rusty traces and were kept in place. The rough, industrial charm became a canvas for the new.
JASPER ARCHITECTS then cut out triangular-shaped prisms on each side of the squared building to flood the interior with natural light and by this, loosen up the massive monolithic geometry.
These terraced "voids" redefine the building’s urban presence entirely. In the voids, glass doors give access to the terraces.
The lost floorspace was regained by two floors added on the top of the existing structure, plus a roof pavilion and extensive rooftop terrace.
The project reveals the building’s past and points to the future with a new, entirely glazed envelope.
The old structural skeleton is revealed to passers-by behind that new glazed facade. From the inside, the urban environment can be experienced as a full panorama view from all levels.
Design teamMartin Jasper, Jörg Westphal, Henry Pudewill, Georg Gewers, Alexander Mendelsohn, Nabil Rajjoub, André Flaskamp, Andrey Yordanov, Sara Staschiok, Dennis Trutty, Hanui Sori You, Tobias Becker, Astrid Pudszuhn, Simon Lindenberg, Lene Nettelbeck, Santiago Flagel, Charly Alazraki, Miriam Herwald, Nik Wenzke