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IBA Block 9

Berlin, Germany
1 of 10
DIY terraces

Block 9 was built as part of IBA Berlin 1987. Terraces and the tower house were constructed in 1988-89, while the playground was built during 1990-92 period.

Urban situation before the start of IBA 1987

During the Second World War, southern Friedrichstadt was almost completely destroyed. What remained was a ruined city structure, which barely reminded of the previous situation in its basic features. Block 9, which stretches between Stresemannstrasse in the west, Wilhelmstrasse in the east, Anhalter Strasse in the north and Hedemannstrasse in the south, was characterized by large brownfield sites. The middle of the block was dominated by a large fire wall of a former wing of a Wilhelminian style building.

Historical structure of the area

The development on the southern edge of Friedrichstadt was defined by solid block structures before the destruction in 1945. These structures were marked by development of a block edge, courtyards, and adapted eaves heights. The entire area used to be a mixture of residential and commercial functions; behind the large fire wall in Block 9 there use to be a printing house.

Planning history and redevelopment goals

A new concept in building social housing was to involve the residents and use their assistance in the planning and construction. The aim was to reduce costs, while simultaneously strengthening the feeling of belonging - the identification of residents with their neighborhood. The project was to be incorporated into the prevailing block concept in southern Friedrichstadt, and form a tower on the street corner as a focal point. Besides the planned residential development, it was necessary to design a children's playground.

The international architectural competition "Southern Friedrichstadt - Wilhelmstrasse", organized in 1981, was won by the Spanish architectural group C2. In 1982/83, IBA approved the draft of the plan. Additionally, the land-use plan was changed and creation of a new cul-de-sac in Block 9 was approved. A year later, design for the new playground followed. Construction of the "Do It Yourself" terraces and the residential tower began in the late 1988 and was completed a year later. The playground was completed in 1992.

Urban planning and architectural solution

In southern Friedrichstadt, three towers were built during the period of IBA planning: residential building at the corner of Wilhelmstrasse / Anhalter Strasse, the Atelierturm in Charlottenstrasse, and the 12-storey residential building in Block 9, which soon became new landmarks in the district.

33848|The building, built by the Turin architect Pietro Derossi and his Berlin contact, architect Klaus Kammann, consists of two parts. Up to the 6th floor, the facade is designed in exposed brickwork. Additionally, the tower is plastered in parts, with semicircular balconies and loggias which make the tower appear dynamic. The roof is broken in the middle and adorned with a playful sculpture. The buidling containes 11 apartments and two shops.

Next to the tower, 32712|the self-made terraces or "Do it yourself" (DIY) terraces were built. Designed by the architect Dietrich von Beulwitz, it follows a newly created branch road. The three equally designed terrace houses line up along the existing fire wall, follow the block idea of a side wing, and are 120 meters long. The buildings, with skeletons made of reinforced concrete, are 5-stories high, with up to 45 m2 of south-oriented terraces. These can be used as gardens, living rooms, or conservatory. The construction offers open, unobstructed, almost column-free spaces and opens up a wide variety of extension options for the occupants. Both the ground and the top floors are suitable for commercial use, due to their deep ceiling heights and volume of the room.

Altogether, the DIY terrace building offers 30 adaptable apartments. While house no.3 has been almost completely expanded and completed by the client, in house no.1 residents were involved in the construction and have somewhat contributed to its completion. House no.2 was the one where the residents had the biggest role; their building efforts took place under expert supervision. The DIY structure is never completed, but can be constantly supplemented or changed. Each of the three houses opens up into its own playground, which then continues into another, large playground with an area of 2,500 m2, completed in 1992. Jasper Halfmann and Klaus Zillich designed the green spaces here, as well as at several other IBA locations in southern Friedrichstadt.

Today, the self-built terraces and the residential tower present themselves in their original appearance. The principle of continued construction by the residents still seems feasible, because there are still expansion options on many terraces.

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sonjadragovic, May 28th, 2020
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