The abandoned foundations of a 1990s building served as a base on which to build an apartment block with facades of contrasting languages and a circulation core broken into two parts: the elevator in one, and the stairs in the other, at a five-meter distance from the facade. The architect behind the project, Arno Brandlhuber, proposed austere spaces enclosed between the blind facade along the main avenue and the completely transparent rear elevation. Its floor-to-ceiling glass panes are hidden behind the fire exit stairs, which, besides increasing the impression that each floor is independent, gives rise to open-air terraces protected from the hustle and bustle of the city. The cross ventilation between the two facades and the open-air spaces ensures an adequate degree of comfort indoors while enhancing the austere image of the exposed concrete. It was this sincerity in the construction and the rawness of the finishes that made it possible for the tenants, the author of the project, and his friend and pupil Sam Chermayeff to put different theories on livability and interior design into practice. Chermayeff further developed the concept of the temporary through freestanding furniture, absence of storage space, and unification of the domestic program in a single, 1,300-square-meter room. The operation gave him the chance to use his own designs, objects turned into furniture pieces and stacks of books into improvised tables, making home reconfigurable with every move.
Apartment in Mitte
Arno Brandlhuber/ Sam Chermayeff
The naked structure of an apartment block in the south of Berlin presents experimental ways of living.