JASPER ARCHITECTS has transformed East Berlin's former shopping mall into a new mixed-use office building for the digital era.
JASPER ARCHITECTS won the project through a design competition in 2016, seeing an opportunity to strip the 80 x 80 meters square building in Berlin's Friedrichshain district down to its structural concrete columns and floor plates, then cutting voids into the structure on each side of the building to flood the interior with natural light, and finally adding terraces for the office floors. The existing structure was then covered by a new, fully glazed façade. Called UP! BERLIN, the 65,000-square-metre office building was inaugurated on March 18th and handed over to the main tenant Zalando.
For the transformation, the closed cube was first gutted and then, via wedge-shaped subtractions in the volume, the light was brought into the volume to create bright rooms for the new tasks. In addition to the wedge-shaped, terraced incisions in the façade, three additional floors and a roof terrace bring plenty of light and air into everyday office life.
Developer / Client: SIGNA
Architectural Concept and Design: JASPER ARCHITECTS
General Planning and Building Planning: JASPER ARCHITECTS and GEWERS PUDEWILL
Structural Engineering + Facade Engineering: Bollinger und Grohmann
Technical Installation Engineering: Ingenieurgesellschaft Meinhardt Fulst
Landscape Design: YEWO Landscapes
Interior Design Zalando: Studio Aisslinger and JASPER ARCHITECTS
Building Physics: Müller BBM
Fire Protection Engineering: hhpberlin
Lighting Design Consultant: Licht Kunst Licht AG
Photographer: Nils Koenning
Photographer: Robert Herrmann
Photographer: Hans- Georg Esch
Photographer: Linus Lintner

Transforming East Berlin's Old Shopping Mall
In 2016 JASPER ARCHITECTS won the competition organized by Signa, Austria's largest privately owned real estate company, for an over-all redesign of the Building of the former
"Centrum Warenhaus" of the GDR, built in 1979. The competition task was to present a
concept to turn this massive square building block of 80m length and 80m width into
usable office space, generating future work places for the digital era.
Biggest challenge
The biggest challenge was to bring natural lighting into the building. The logical consequence of shaping out an inner courtyard was twisted around: The presented idea was to cut triangular haped prisms on each side of the square building, in order to flood the interior with natural light and by this loosen up the massive monolithic geometry of the existing building. These created voids redefine the building's urban presence entirely, opening the volume up on all four sides. The voids, as well a strategic terracing and twisting of the floors, optimize views to central Berlin. All floors have access to outdoor communal spaces for working, entertaining and relaxing.
For the redesign, the existing Building is stripped down to its structural concrete columns and floorplates. Then wrapped in high-quality glass, what was once an interior-focused shopping center has been reimagined as an outwardly-focused center. To compensate for the cut-out real estate, two floors are added on the top. A big roof top terrace creates an amazing view on Berlin.
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