Hardly anything makes such a difference to a city’s skyline as the architecture of its buildings. They are more than just a means to an end, more than just four walls that create space for all the things we need to get done. Buildings foster communication; their design can forge identities and make important contributions to a culture. One edifice that unites these qualities in spectacular fashion is the 50Hertz Netzquartier building in Berlin.
The development was planned by LOVE architecture and urbanism from Graz (Austria). Whenever the architects, Mark Jenewein and Herwig Kleinhapl, talk about 50Hertz Netzquartier, you can tell the project is close to their hearts. You sense their pride in the completed development and the overwhelming positive response it received. This applies particularly to the current occupiers of the building – the employees of the grid operator 50Hertz, who were given an opportunity to make their own suggestions and share their own hopes for the nature and features of the building.
The project also formed part of the pilot phase of the German Sustainable Building Council’s (DGNB) quality assessment of design and architectural culture. It’s the first project worldwide to go above and beyond the DGNB Certificate and receive a DGNB Diamond. Whether it’s the sensible approach to certain building parameters, the way the build blends in with the urban architecture around it, the way each design detail has been implemented, or the quality of the interior and the layout – whatever you take as the yardstick, this development stands out from the crowd.
The commission for design quality – brought together by the DGNB and the Federal Chamber of Architects (BAK) under the professional guidance of the BDA – certified that the development has, among other things, made outstanding contributions to the ongoing Europaviertel district and the entire city of Berlin.
At BAU 2017 we had a chance to talk to Mark Jenewein and Herwig Kleinhapl in person about the 50Hertz Netzquartier building, a development they implemented in collaboration with kadawittfeldarchitektur. In an extensive interview, they gave us an exciting peek behind the scenes during the run-up to the project and the wide-sweeping participation process. They also shared their perspective on sustainable building and reflected on the increasing level of technology now entering into buildings.