Mitte, Berlin Germany
Every change of use of a space, or, as commonly known, as a reinvention starts with a personal story. This project, more than any before, had a story of deep friendship, love and loss.
How do we as architects redesign while commemorating and respecting the story and experiences a space holds for so many years and so many people?
With this fundamental fact our task started and whilst innovative ideas are always at the forefront of our work, the focus of reinterpreting the space revolved around the essence of friendship, entertaining and, most importantly, love for great literature.
Our client wished to have a space where he could spend days on end isolated from the day-to-day tasks, allowing him to focus on his affiliation with literature and the many memories the space held for him.
As the clients needs where oriented more towards a single user and rarely for a maximum of two users, we found that the priority of the functions could and should be reevaluated.
To achieve this, while retaining the warmth and charm of the space, we opted to look at the functions of the space as compactable vs expandable functions, by which we would give a fresh and updated reinterpretation to the space.
Rethinking the old functional hierarchy was our first step, with which we understood that not only the order of the functions needed to change but as well their electromechanical construction must be reenvisioned.
We found that the positions of the old bathroom and kitchen where isolated from the main living area by a corridor and a bedroom.
If we just flipped the order and compact the bathroom and bedroom while expanding the kitchen and living space, we would enhance the points that where important to the client as well cancel an outdated corridor and gain valuable usage space.
While doing this allowed us to gain a more clean open space plan, we still had the challenge of reinventing two main functions into one small space while facing a second challenge of the restrictions posed by the old staircase communal toilets.
While rethinking and reevaluating all this, it became clear that by elevating these two functions from the rest of the space, we would not only gain a clear separation between main and secondary usages.
But it would allow us to deal with the electromechanical constructional aspects and challenges and restrictions with a more elegant solution,
resulting in a design that appears to fit the space as if it was originally constructed in this manner rather then forced to become what it was not meant to be.
By using concrete flooring in this compacted spaces vs wood in the rest of the apartment, we gained a sense strength to the smaller, more fragile parts of the design while softness to the larger coldness of the open space.
In the bathroom we introduced three shades of green to the wall tiles to give the visual illusion of a larger space while using wood and metal as base materials for the shower floor and elements.
Parallel, we gave the small bedroom space a more natural spectrum of materials with a much lighter white color base. We did this to enlarge the space and make the focus of it the outer world, one could see from the window.
These micro parts allow the apartment to stay functionally comfortable while being designed to the millimeter.
All that was left now was to use the rest of the space to contain the main living entertaining function alongside the kitchen function with an abundance of storage.
Integrating ample storage space in the kitchen, the living room, the entrance and the bedroom. Insured the client would not need to add any further furnishings to the space.
Finishing this with a complete marble block island as the kitchen and living space main feature that acts both as a functional and a decorative element.
All this was executed while thinking and rethinking each and ever single detail to achieve flawless lines and design for our concept of the literature house.
Title: Literature House
Client's: T. Sparr and M.Dotschko
Building area: 57 m2
Status: completed 2017
Location: Mitte, Berlin Germany
Team: Ana Lytvyniuk