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0154 San Gimignano Lichtenberg

Berlin, 2012-, Brandlhuber+ Georg Diez, Nikolai von Rosen, Christopher Roth, Kristof Schlüßler; Lukas Beer, Thomas Burlon, Marta Dyachenko, Olaf Grawert, Dorothee Hahn, Tobias Hönig, Maria Hudl, Marjan Jobke, Janz Omerzu, Markus Rampl; HHP Berlin (Brandschutz); Andreas Schulz / Pichler Ingenieure (Tragwerk) 

Where the former conveyor plant and production facility of an East German carbon product public corporation once stood in Berlin-Lichtenberg, only two concrete towers have survived demolition. Ennobled by their new title, a reference to the famous Tuscan towers of the same name, the structures — situated between a Vietnamese wholesale market and a thicket of Plattenbauten, i.e. prefabricated East German high-rises — were supposed to acquire a new use. But demands by building regulators that a 20-meter setback be maintained in front of every facade threatened to tank the project. However, because outer walls located directly on the boundary of a plot require no setback, the architects redefined the property, making its boundaries overlap with a few of the outer edges of the towers. As a result, setback distances only had to be maintained by the walls not overlapping with the new lot boundary, while the other sides of the building could be defined as firewalls. And after the application for a 5-meter-wide easement, window openings may now be knocked out of the firewalls.  
© Erica Overmeer