With the construction of the “Quartier am Rathauspark” in Berlin-Lichtenberg, the state-owned housing company HOWOGE GmbH is making a contribution to meeting the growing demand for affordable housing in the city of Berlin.
In keeping with the typical Berlin mixture, a heterogeneous fabric in all facets, an attractive living and working environment is being created. With residential units, daycare for children, commercial units and public open spaces a ‘Kiez’ (neighbourhood) with high quality at affordable prices is offered. Stefan-Heym-Platz is a representative entrée and mediates between the neighbourhood and the busy intersection on Frankfurter Allee.
The design of the plaza was created by office GM013 and was developed together with the residents in 2015. hochC planned the various open spaces in the neighbourhood ‘Quartier am Rathauspark’ and specified the complex design of the plaza in the implementation planning.
Consisting of several buildings and a high-rise, office spaces serve as a boundary and noise barrier between the bustling traffic area and the residential buildings. This creates an intimate space for neighbourly togetherness inside the block. As a car-free, low-cost and barrier-free neighbourhood, a high social mix is ensured. Three central green spaces with playgrounds serve as meeting places for the neighbourhood.
The Stefan-Heym-Platz is a representative entrée in front of the HOWOGE headquarters and at the same time a place for residents and pedestrians to linger. High-quality and durable materials were used, such as natural stone slabs in parquet patterns.
Fragmented plant islands spatially divide the plaza. The raised planting areas are framed by custom-made precast concrete elements and steel frames. Through the complex geometry of these elements, the plant islands appear to grow out of the pavement like clods with edges bevelled in several dimensions. In between seatings made from wood and plantings of grasses and trees create a green retreat.
A shallow pool of water is now home to a landmark statue of a young man with (a) fish. Fountain’s water muffles the noise of the adjacent multi-lane roads. During the cold months, there’s no water. The basin then transforms into a ‘square stage’ with a seating edge without water. Adjacent to it is the elevated ‘urban balcony’, which can be used for culinary purposes.
According to the wishes of the residents, the recreational facilities are supplemented by an exercise area with a trampoline and a climbing wall.
© hochC Landscape Architects pictures 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 11-19
© Markus Bachmann pictures 4,5,7,10
Design year: since 2017
Year of construction: 2019-2021
Area: 1,900 sqm (Stefan-Heym-Platz), 12,000 sqm (Quartier am Rathauspark)
Client: HOWOGE Wohnungsbaugesellschaft mbH
Involved architects: GM013 Landschaftsarchitektur (design SHP), Baumschlager Eberle Architekten