Who is developing the Urbane Mitte?
The Urbane Mitte Am Gleisdreieck is being developed jointly by a large number of participants. The district administration, urban planners, architects, project developers, real estate consultants and economists are working under the guidance of Team Urbane Mitte and the UMB Beteiligungs GmbH with a great deal of heart and enthusiasm. The planning authority is with the district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.
When will construction start?
Construction on the north and south sides of Urbane Mitte Am Gleisdreieck, separated by the U2 underground line, will take part in two phases: construction on the southern side is expected to start in 2023, while the construction on the northern side is anticipated to start around two years later. The entire urban quarter will create a stimulating and inspiring environment in a healthy and rejuvenating urban landscape and construction is expected to be complete in End of the 2020s.
How did the project respond to question and concerns of local residents and concerned citizens during the planning phases?
Everyone interested in the project had an opportunity to share their ideas during a series of participatory dialogues that took place from November 2014 to February 2015. People were informed about the project and invited to participate in the dialogues with marketing materials such as flyers, posters, a website especially created for the project (www.urbane-mitte.de) – and even a “coffee-mobile”. Most of the ideas collected shaped the resulting consensus paper that sums up the results of the dialogues. These formed the basis for the competition documents created for the following phase of the project. The consensus paper, as well as information about all resident dialogues and talks with development experts and city representatives overseeing urban planning, can found at www.urbane-mitte.de.
Finally, a preview of the competition entries took place in November prior to the end of the second phase of the urban planning competition. This gave citizen representatives the chance to assess and express opinions on the seven final proposals.
A public exhibition of all competition entries took place from 3 to 5 December 2015 in the Deutsches Technikmuseum.
The land use planning documents were publicly displayed at Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg local authority offices from 15 February 2016 to 15 March 2016. Members of the public could view the plans and proposals there along with an explanation of the objectives, purpose and impact of the plans. They could then submit their comments and/or personal opinions on the project.
Local residents and members of the public are to be involved in the future as well. To facilitate this, people will be able to find out more about the project and get involved at the site itself from late summer 2016 onwards.
Why do you talk about a consensus plan although residents’ individual wishes and suggestions have not been taken into account?
Because the parties involved represent such a wide range of interests, it is not possible to include absolutely all individual opinions and wishes when drafting a consensus plan. The concept presented is the result of a majority opinion.
In the workshop process lasting from November 2014 to February 2015, all interested members of the public were invited to contribute their personal suggestions and ideas concerning the construction project. Most of these ideas were incorporated into the consensus concept as the result of the workshop process.
URBAN PLANNING COMPETITION
Who is responsible for the property design?
An urban planning competition was conducted between May and November 2015. The overarching goal of the competition was to determine the primary access routes through the property, the basic contours of the structures, how to properly integrate the planned train station for the line S21 and how space would be divided by use. During the first competition phase, 22 architectural offices submitted entries. Of these, a respected jury selected seven to proceed to the second phase. During this phase, architects and urban planners had an opportunity to further develop their proposals.
The prize winning entries were selected at the second jury session held on 20 November 2015. First place was shared by two Berlin-based architectural offices, COBE Berlin and Ortner & Ortner Baukunst.
Between then and Christmas, the winning designs by COBE Berlin and Ortner & Ortner Baukunst were assessed by planners and expert, who produced recommendations for their further development. The winning firms then honed their proposals by the end of January in line with these recommendations. On 26 April 2016, Team Urbane Mitte and Head Judge Professor Dörte Gatermann decided to adopt the proposal by Ortner & Ortner. This proposal now forms the basis for the development of a master plan and the reminder of the land use planning process.
Will the concept be executed exactly as it is now?
The concept is an urban planning proposal that will now take on a more concrete shape during the subsequent land use planning process. The proposal visualises what the future developed might look like, and as such forms the basis for producing a master plan and for the remainder of the land use planning process.
Why was the proposal by Ortner & Ortner chosen?
The judges were impressed by the flexibility of the planned structures – particularly for sporting activities and an art gallery, but also for food-service outlets and retail. In addition to this, the buildings in the design by Ortner & Ortner have relatively large floor areas, meaning there is a greater focus on building across rather than upwards. This caters to the preferences of creative companies in particular, which favour open-plan workspaces on one level. The wide open spaces between and in front of the individual buildings give the entire development an airy character and create vistas of the listed Gleisdreieck U-Bahn station. A courtyard is also planned by the entrance to the park on Luckenwalder Straße.
URBAN PLANNING ISSUES
What are the reasons for such dense development?
We live in an age of reurbanisation. People are moving to cities, but these only have a limited area. The results are denser development and growth – and that includes upwards. Ultimately, high-rise structures enable more people to participate in the Urbane Mitte am Gleisdreieck development. This also has an ecological advantage in connection with the site’s optimum public transport links: areas of dense development allow more people to use the buildings, infrastructure and leisure facilities more efficiently. In addition to this, there will be open spaces between the high-rise buildings, affording vistas of the surrounding area.
Back in 2005, the Senate Department for Urban Development earmarked the Urbane Mitte site for a potential newbuild with a calculated gross floor area (GFA) of almost 150,000 square metres. The GFA is the sum of the floor area on each storey and therefore shows the total floor space of the development. With a newbuild GFA of approximately 110,000 m2, the final proposal is considerably below these specifications. In addition to this, the U-Bahn viaducts are to be incorporated into the plans, making them accessible to the public for the first time.
How has the history of the area surrounding Gleisdreieck been integrated into the project?
Kreuzberg has a storied past. The area near Gleisdreieck has undergone many changes in the past, and the large Park am Gleisdreieck has played a major role in its history. The entire location gives Kreuzberg an identity of its own and Urbane Mitte am Gleisdreieck should reflect the area’s DNA as a site for transportation and manufacturing. It is also essential that reviews remain unhindered of the historically protected U-Bahn junction and accompanying railyard.
How has the protection of listed historic buildings been incorporated, and what will become of the listed train station?
The U-Bahn with its viaducts is listed and is not directly affected by the construction work on the site. However, it is due to be integrated into the overall concept as part of the subsequent development process.
We worked with the upper and lower authorities responsible for the preservation of listed historic buildings in connection with the competition.
In accordance with the German building and planning code (BauGB), public bodies are involved in the land use planning process to ensure that the preservation of listed historic buildings is taken into account.
What mitigation and compensation measures are planned to preserve the site’s open spaces?
The idea is to integrate green spaces into the site – and perhaps into the buildings as well – but exactly how this will be done has yet to be decided. Concrete measures will be developed as part of the land use planning process.
What will be done to ensure the safety of residents and visitors to the park?
We will, of course, comply with all building site regulations to ensure that residents and visitors to the park are kept safe during once the construction work commences.
Will there be an increase in particulate matter and noise pollution during the construction phase?
You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. However, modern construction equipment is subject to strict conditions regarding emissions. Statutory limits on working hours apply.
Does the project include residential housing?
Residential usage on the property is highly limited due to the noise of rail transport through the property. Because this property is located in what is known as a “central zone”, residential units are only allowed in exceptional cases.
Does the project include public spaces?
The project strives to create a lively urban quarter. During the participatory dialogues, residents said what kind of uses they wanted from the space. As a result, areas on the ground floor have been earmarked for public uses, such as the planned art hall, as well as for workshops, restaurants and shops. Additional kinds of sports are also planned, to complement the sports x now offered in the neighbouring park. The goal is to create an urban space that entices visitors to stay and relax. This applies to the public transit zone between the Gleisdreieck train station and the U-Bahn viaducts that will be revitalised.
Will areas of the park be reserved for commercial purposes and workshops?
Residents participating in the dialogues made it clear that the area needs more amenities. A new area for shops will be created at Urbane Mitte am Gleisdreieck in the vicinity of the new train station intersection, as well as areas for workshops, trades and studio spaces.
Will new workshops and studios be created?
The desire for more uses for artists was mentioned several times during the dialogues. It has been integrated into the consensus paper. Urbane Mitte foresees the creation of a dynamic mixed-use location – that equally benefits local residents and visitors – and spaces for creativity are an integral part of this concept.
PARK AM GLEISDREIECK
Will construction affect the bicycle path?
There will be access routes through the property in the future. This was an important point that came to light during the dialogues. The exact location of the bicycle path still must be determined, however.
Will construction affect Park am Gleisdreieck?
The park is public property and, as such, will be remain unaltered in its current state. Construction will only be performed in designated areas, as outlined in the urban planning contract from 2005.
Will the park be overshadowed by the planned buildings?
In the morning, the buildings will cast a shadow in the direct vicinity of the site, including the park. However, thanks to the favourable orientation of the site (north–south), the park will not be overshadowed by the buildings.
How will the anticipated increase in traffic (private transport) be dealt with? Is there a traffic analysis?
In terms of traffic, the requirements relating to the design and size of the planned infrastructure and the organisation of traffic on the site (‘inner development’) is being investigated as part of the B-Plan process. Furthermore, the impact of the plans on the directly adjoining road network (‘outer development’) is being determined and the influence on the existing traffic flow evaluated. As part of these investigations, it has been established that the additional source and destination traffic expected to travel through the planned area can be managed with the existing traffic infrastructure and traffic management system.
What will happen with the U-Bahn?
The U-Bahn will not be affected by construction on the property. It will, however, be integrated into the overall development concept.
Why were the arches of the S-Bahn dismantled?
Whereas the U-Bahn train station and viaducts have been designated historically protected structures, the older arches of the S-Bahn were not. They were in disrepair and in danger of collapsing.
Are further pioneer projects planned besides B-Part and BRLO BRWHOUSE?
There are areas on the site where the future Urbane Mitte Am Gleisdreieick shall take shape that are specially designated for pioneer projects – temporary projects designed to breathe life into the neighbourhood prior to development. Following the ongoing success of BRLO BRWHOUSE, a small brewery with a restaurant and beer garden that has been on the site since 2016, B-Part Am Gleisdreieck opened at the end of March 2019. B-Part Am Gleisdreieck is a multifunctional building and laboratory dedicated dedicated to designing the urban neighbourhoods of the future, and was launched under the patronage of Katrin Lompscher, Berlin’s Senator for Urban Development and Housing.
Other pioneer projects are possible and welcome. We are happy to receive your suggestions.
What is B-Part exactly?
B-Part Am Gleisdreieck is a temporary multifunctional building in a timber construction consisting of separate elements, located on the site where the Urban Mitte Am Gleisdreieck is in development. As a laboratory created to develop the city quarter of the future, B-Part provides an experimental space of approx. 1,000 sqm for a projected four to five years for everyone who wants to discover, experience and shape the living and working environments of tomorrow.
The building consists of two parts: the hardware – a timber construction which provides around 100 spaces for flexible, healthy and inspiring working; and the software – the Urban Ideation Lab, which is an integral part of B-Part. The Lab offers six free-of-charge curated workspaces linked to scholarships awarded for research into pioneering ideas and solutions to create urban districts people enjoy living in.
Who is B-Part intended for?
B-Part is for everyone interested in the “city of tomorrow” who would like to contribute to shaping the development of Urbane Mitte Am Gleisdreieck. An interdisciplinary exchange will stimulate the discussion and generation of practical long-term solutions and insights into the future of work, sustainable mobility, and urban communities.
The environment at B-Part is more diverse than in dedicated coworking spaces. Aside from the startups and project teams, creatives and artists are working next door in the Urban Ideation Lab, the artist studios, and the B-Part Exhibition space. With the opening of B-Part Sports, an outdoor training park, and the weekly yoga and running sessions, B-Part Am Gleisdreieck also has plenty to offer those interested in health and fitness.
In short: B-Part is a unique meeting spot for neighbours, locals, entrepreneurs, creatives, art aficionados, sports enthusiasts, and culture vultures alike.
What is B-Part offering?
B-Part Am Gleisdreieck is home to the Jules Café, which provides space for refreshments and dialogue among coworkers, as well as a central meeting point for neighbours and visitors to the area. It’s also a welcoming space to hang out, relax, and spend time. B-Part Am Gleisdreieck also offers flexible multi-purpose spaces that can be used for presentations, workshops, art exhibitions, discussion panels, and events for up to 200 people. Two studios are available for dedicated use by Berlin-based and international artists. Aside from this, there are special outdoor sports offerings around B-Part, forming a tangible link between sustainability, health, and urban community.
Who is behind B-Part?
Marc F. Kimmich, member of the Team Urbane Mitte, is the founder of B-Part Am Gleisdreieck.
Main tenant is the Berlin coworking provider St. Oberholz, represented and managed by Ansgar Oberholz himself.
Janusch Munkwitz, experienced entrepreneur and managing director of the architecture and design studio Supersupply Limited, takes care of gastronomy at B-Part. He is also the owner of the Paul & George bar, Café Bravo and Condesa on Marienplatz in Stuttgart.
Rüdiger Lange, the renowned Berlin curator and trailblazer known for creating interim exhibitions in real estate undergoing development, is in charge of curating artistic themes. The founder of ‘loop – raum für aktuelle kunst’, a funding platform, is in charge of sourcing the artworks and regularly invites interested parties to participate in exhibitions in the “B-Part Exhibition” and production space. Rüdiger Lange is also curating the experimental Moving Grounds format here, in which visions of the new city and future ways of living and working are developed on site.
B-Part provides plenty of space for art, culture, and relaxation – but that is not all: The former Olympian and Urbane Mitte Am Gleisdreieck’s sports ambassador, Phillipp Boy, designed a parkour training circuit exclusively for B-Part that invites beginners and professionals alike to train on workout areas, gymnastics equipment, trampolines and step boxes. Phillip Boy will be offering special sessions for neighbors and interested parties free of charge. The range of sports on offer aims to promote healthy and tolerant coexistence, helping to bring people together and bring the neighbourhood to life.
How many workspaces are available?
There are around 100 workspaces available at B-Part Am Gleisdreieck. These can be booked by individuals on a daily basis (single desk) or by teams for the entire duration of a project. There are also additional event spaces for up to 200 people.
Who is curating the Urban Ideation Lab?
The application window for the curated workspaces in the Urban Ideation Lab opens every year during May and November for the following scholarship round. Detailed information on the application process can be found on the B-Part website.
How and where can I apply for one of the curated workspaces?
Interested parties are invited to sign up to the newsletter online at https://bpart.berlin/en and they will receive an email to let them know when the next application phase begins.
How can I contribute my own topics to B-Part?
Please feel free to contact the Urban Ideation Lab team to suggest potential themes and share your ideas and comments at any time via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is so innovative about the way B-Part is built?
B-Part Am Gleisdreieck is a timber construction consisting of separate elements. Using prefabricated timber components means it was possible to deliver elements in an almost-ready state. This considerably reduced construction times, noise, and CO2 emissions and the project was completed within a very short timeframe. The timber construction method used to create B-Part Am Gleisdreieck saved around 350 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). Another benefit is the capacity of timber to absorb and retain CO2 from the air. The wood that used to build B-Part Am Gleisdreieck is retaining around 350 tonnes of carbon dioxide. As a lightweight building material, it also saves energy in transportation.
A time-lapse video of the construction of B-Part Am Gleisdreieck can be viewed at: https://vimeo.com/channels/urbanemitte/314793953.
What will happen to B-Part after Urbane Mitte at Gleisdreieck is built?
As a pioneer project, B-Part Am Gleisdreieck is intended to remain on the Urbane Mitte Am Gleisdreieck site for four to five years. After this time, the building’s construction means that it can be easily dismantled and reassembled in a new location and used for a new purpose. However, the goal is to integrate B-Part into the design of Urbane Mitte Am Gleisdreieck on a permanent basis.