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0136 51*55

Berlin, 2011, Brandlhuber+ Emde, Burlon; Victoria Hlubek, Tobias Hönig, Cornelia Müller, Jacob Steinfelder; Bernardo Cabral, Andreas Schulz/Pichler Ingenieure (structural engineer)

Situated between two historic buildings from the early 20th century, 51*55 rethinks the idea of historical reference. Regulation would have required the building to reference its two adjacent buildings, however, a fake design was made under Mies’ name to convince the Building Department to instead allow 51*55 to reference the Neue Nationalgalerie, located on the opposing bank of the canal. The building, at Schöneberger Ufer 51-55, Berlin, was built in the early 1970s using the efficient Schottenbauweise cross-wall construction technique. Its structural order is based on the optimization of the roofing span with a 4.15 metre grid width. Sixteen partitions, each 15 metres deep, divide the full depth of the floor slabs and run along the building’s 62 metre length. This shelf-like seven storey construction consists of 105 modules —resembling a checkered sheet of paper— which acts as the building’s first order. Using one of the ground floor modules, a passage leads to the courtyard and garage entrance. The underground parking columns were built at 5 to 7.50 metre intervals, following an optimized grid of 2.50 metres, which permits the most efficient use of the garage.The concept of 51*55 follows this inherent logic and dimensions of prefabrication and automation. A new layer was added at the back of the existing structure to match the 18-metre depth of the neighboring buildings. With an average depth of three metres, the added shelf-like construction is based on the parking space’s grid, which serves as the building‘s second order. Because of its misalignment with the first system, this second order visually interferes with the underlying grid of the original building. A circulation layer at the rear supplements the new structure and serves simultaneously as a vertical garden and exterior space for the users. This third system is adapted to the interfering grids and allows for flexible unit configuration, while meeting the clearance and fire protection regulations and at the same time guar- anteeing security and privacy.