Dagewo project is one of the first built designs of Zaha Hadid, completed within the International Building Exhibition Berlin 1987 - IBA Berlin 1987.
For IBA IBA Block 2, so-called "women's block", building by and for women was a topic to be addressed. The fact that young Zaha Hadid was selected for a contribution corresponded to the international and artistic claim of the IBA 1984/87. As an urban accent, the brass-clad structure marks the corner of Stresemannstraße and Dessauer Strasse, before being transformed into a three-storey residential and commercial building on Stresemannstrasse. As with the neighboring buildings, emancipatory living was also identified as a project goal of IBA, in addition to the block repair. However, the architect, who also described the block as a "leper colony", was critical of the thematic positioning of her project as "Women Building for Women". She saw the building and its expressive design as an attempt to create new architectural spaces, which ultimately led to a "spiritual liberation".
Disagreements became obvious during the construction of this avant-garde house. Although it emphasized its sculptural and urban qualities, the architect's drawings were considered unfinished. Floorplan solutions and living spaces were consistently regarded as conservative and unconvincing. Because it was financed as social housing, the corresponding requirements had to be complied with. This made it particularly difficult to demand the demonstration of new forms of housing. The architect was unable to realize her ideas and resigned before the Berlin authorities.
Details and materials
The property consists of two interlocking structures on a common, glass, ground-floor base set back from the facade canyon. A flat, two-storey long building, heavily divided horizontally by window strips, projects beyond the base floor in the east. Two concrete supports tapered downwards support the overhang. The entrance to the underground car park is covered here. To the west of the longest building there is a high-rise window that is slanted into the building. It slides behind another pane, which juts out into Stresemannstrasse. On the north facade, this pane is equipped with natural stone on an aluminum structure. Glazed on the south facade. Both panes are connected by an elevator shaft that is only marginally perceptible on the south facade.
The perception in the courtyard of the facility is quite contrary. Here the shaft is highlighted by its signal red as the linchpin of the system. The remaining components are lightly plastered. The building has aluminum balcony structures towards the courtyard, and the longest building also has a roof terrace. The courtyard is green and a staircase behind the building Stresemannstrasse 105-109 compensates for the gradient in the area.
It can be seen from the construction files that the Senate requested six apartments for disabled people, one above the other, for this building. This may have been the decisive point in considering the elevator as the central point of the object.The contractual system "Planning and equipment-specific requirements for residential buildings with integrated handicapped accessible apartments" served as the IBA's guide to barrier-free construction.
A narrow passage forms the border to the Dessauer Straße building complex. In the following, lots 2–4 are lined up. The long building block is interrupted by covered passages in the associated 4-sided courtyards. As a result, the courtyards remain open to the public, but advance to semi-public space because they are not directly accessible. The courtyards are completely closed on the east side of the courtyard development (Bernburger Straße 8/9). There are garages here.
Zaha Hadid and the building
The project was challenging, and challenged on several points, such as the mere definition of emancipatory living and the constraints imposed by the idea of what social housing is and could be. Young Zaha Hadid found the theme of women building for women limiting and responded with an expressively designed tower, seeking freedom through the form in the walled-off city. She left the project before the completion, but her Degewo Residential Building was finished – it still excites architecture students and connoisseurs as a lesser-known Berlin work of the famous architect.