The new station housing the police and fire departments for the government district of Berlin is an extension to a now free-standing 19th-century structure.
Located on the edge of a former goods yard close to the river Spree. The single-banked rear wing of the building serves as a backbone for the extension that nestles against the sheer brick wall almost like a luminous 'floating' body. The space underneath the new building provides covered parking for the various police station and fire brigade vehicles, whilst the yard accommodates the necessary maneuvers of the large fire engines.
The building is set back considerably from the main road and lies approximately six meters below street level; visitors approach the fire and police station across a new footbridge on the level of the bel etage. Placing the entrance to such a building through a first-floor window of its representative historical facade is both a pragmatic solution and a gesture appropriate to the surreal quality of its location.
The facade of the extension is made of large glass shingles that celebrate the formal and material contrast between an existing Berlin building fragment and its new extension. The reds and greens used in the facade are inspired by the heraldic colors of Germany's fire brigades and police, as well as the color contrast between the existing brick structure and the surrounding groups of mature trees. The slight tilt of the glass shingles when closed lets the building volume reflect the sky, highlighting the contrast to the matt surface of the existing brick and stone structure. Shingles located directly in front of windows can be opened as required for protection from sun and glare.