IBA Berlin 1987 plan for Block 1 was developed after the original intention of building extensive highway routes through central residential areas was abandoned. The block formed by Köthener Street and Bernburger Street was announced as one of the ares to be developed within IBA framework and was designed by German architect Oswald Mathias Ungers.
The planning goals of the Block 1 were: restoration of the block edge, realization of various types of housing (such as family houses, flats, penthouses in a block of flats - block in the block, house in the house), provision of user-specific apartments for family-friendly living, and creation of public and social infrastructure through a residential playground. Environmental impact to be reduced through ecological measures, such as green roofs and facades. winter gardens, soundproof glazing and green areas to screen the built along Bernburger Straße.
Details of Block 1
A five-storey apartment building with roof terraces was planned as a freestanding apartment block with a recessed attic and with an inner courtyard and a partial basement. The height of the building is adapted to the height of the eaves of Bernburger / Dessauer Straße buildings. The building consists of eight four-storey detached houses, which are grouped together as a parapet by the upper levels. The individual houses are to receive their own identity through the planning measures, such as single-family houses. The corner houses accommodate the stairwells and the elevators.
The connection to the middle houses is made possible by glazed, winter garden-like bridges, which are assigned to the respective maisonette apartments. The courtyard is raised, to accommodate the underground car park below(See image). The external appearance of the building is a strictly ordered facade, which is covered with brick cladding. The building comprises 44 family-friendly apartments that were created both as maisonette apartments and as multi-storey apartments.
Block 1 then and now
The new building by Oswald Mathias Ungers was one of the flagship projects of the IBA 1987. His simple expression reflects the IBA tension between reduction (style of modernity) and diversity (hints of typological variation).
Block 1 with its green roof terraces, square grid of the floor plan, dark clinker facade with the color contrast of the broad, white window bars has not changed much in the external appearance since its inception in the 80s.
The originally planned urban situation, in which the building served as the western entrance to southern Friedrichstadt, was due to the Berlin Wall, which was still standing at the time. The situation changed after 1989 due to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The emphasis on this block to be a gate to the southern Friedrichstadt was nullified and the building optically joined into the streetscape of Köthener and Bernburger Straße.
Out of the four gate-like openings through the four-sides of the courtyard, two have been fenced shut. The greenery that was planned in the demonstration goals is only partially recognizable. The tree in the courtyard is the only green line of sight that can be seen inside. The gate openings and the exterior of the building are partially covered with ivy, but this only partially corresponds to an intensive greening concept that was planned.
The connected children's playground at Bernburger Straße 13–15 connects block 1 with IBA Block 6 in the green axis route network. It can be used by children from both blocks. It was a recommendations of Müller / Ungers / Faskel in the block concept development from 1982.