WS 16/17

The 'RAW Site' in Berlin is a destination for a vast number of young tourists and Berliners: clubs, concert halls, beer gardens, underground restaurants, climbing tower, skate hall and flea markets are being visited here 24/7. The historical halls and buildings and the access system of the former repair workshop of the German State Railways offer the constructional structure. The area lies 3,50 – 6,50m lower than the adjacent quarter from the 1890/1900 years and is enclosed by a 4m high wall.

Visitors normally arrive by public transport over the Warschauer Bridge. Because of the low-lying of the area, the ‘colourful landscape of subcultures’ is well visible and hearable from there, yet only reachable through the few gates. Consequently, another structure evolved in the public space along the wall and at the entrances – next to fast food booths, a range of organised drug dealers and pickpockets take advantage of the high frequency of visitors. An investor bought large parts of the area and currently plans to develop it in a way that considers the existing condition yet pays off economically. Within this conditions, an open space and urban design concept is to be designed.

The concept ‘skywalk’ grapples with a new way of pathway connection on the RAW site. In order to deal with the low-lying area and its edges, which are consequently hard to overcome, a new layer is introduced: a walkway, the ‘skywalk’, starts on the level of Warschauer Straße and runs along the existing hall roofs. It facilitates a new view on the structure of buildings and open spaces so they can be experienced in a new way. By doing this, a new pathway connection can be created which otherwise wouldn’t be possible for years to come: the walkway runs over the halls, which almost entirely close the area to the south and which will be used by the Deutsche Bahn for another 20 years.

The walkway’s access function is complemented by the creation of squares on both the upper and the ground level. The topic of ascending and descending, new views from and into intimate places and the historical structure of the halls are staged as a sequence. At the same time, numerous new formal and informal opportunities of stay arise at these points of intersection. The differences in height at the important entrance points to the area will be additionally levelled by the implementation of generous stairs and stands.

For the constructional development of the site, it is planned to maintain as many of the existing buildings as possible and amend them by new buildings at appropriate places. By doing so, the special atmosphere of the area shall be protected while creating enough potential for constructional development. In total, five new high points are scheduled for the area. They are oriented towards the course of the walkway and mark important entrances and exits to the adjacent neighbourhood.

Author/sSandra Fischer, Janina Stemler
Phase(EN)Final Submission