1N9A1939 Ingo Pott
Interview Ingo Pott Pott-Architects

© Pott Architects

The perfect community cosmos.

Ingo, we all know networked worlds only digitally. What do they look like in the analogue version of the Schönhauser 9?

Schönhauser 9 is right in the heart of one of the liveliest neighbourhoods in Berlin. One of the last places you can still find contrasting traces of Berlin’s history.

The exposed location at the intersection point between the districts of Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg, combined with the special character of the property as a topographic section through the cavernous, twisty courtyard structures form the basis of the project. The historic environment with the water tower and old brewery, traces of the ‘Fahrbereitschaft’ – the GDR’s chauffeur service facilities – and the temporary art gallery from the post-reunification period meet the creative environment of today’s Berlin. This analogue environment sets the stage for our digital architecture.

MG 7047

© Pott Architects

Why are the old fire walls so important to you?

The firewalls are living Berlin and its witnesses to the eventful history of the place with the recognisable, centuries-old construction phases in the city’s under-ground, the swath of destruction in the urban context of the Wilhelminian city, littered with bullet holes as evidence of war, street-art graffiti from the turbulent post-reunification period as analogue social media. The firewalls, which were installed in so many places over the decades, are a real identity of Berlin Mitte. Schönhauser 9 is preserving these analogue witnesses for the digital future.

The Schönhauser 9 is the perfect community cosmos. Why?

The building acts as an interface, re-networking the entire neighbourhood with the cavernous courtyard structures and the passage, drawing users in from the street and into the quiet, creative courtyard. The appearance of the building as a perforated matrix of slats and cubes is a reflection of the digital working environment inside the building. The cubes give an insight into the interiors and allow life in the building to interact with the urban environment. The sleek new digital solitaire meets raw old brick firewalls full of graffiti and traces of war. This polarised juxtaposition of old and new forms the unmistakable symbolic identity of the project and is the purest form of the new Mitte neighbourhood.


© Pott Architects