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Laboratory for Integrative Architecture 


MA:A + M-ARCH-T: ES Hochbau I / Architectural Design Studio, Summer 2022

New Babylon, Constant Nieuwenhuys,1956-1974

German version here.


The design studio adresses highly motivated master students, skilled in drawing, modelling and other media. You should be curious and open towards a design process which seeks to explore innovative solutions. Exchange students are explicitly welcome.


Berlin must build (more), that seems to be the consensus for years. While the general attention continues to be on the embattled as well as stagnating "inner development", facts are created on the so-called "outskirts", often without much attention. In the peripheral areas of the city, which are often also border areas of Berlin, planning is going on as if there were no climate crisis, no climate protection programs, let alone alternative visions to “Kleinstädterei”, low density and sprawl. But does the "urban fringe" actually still exist when people work in Berlin and put up with a two-hour drive every day, partly voluntarily, to live "in the countryside," partly without choice, because of high rents? The state of Brandenburg is currently growing faster than the state of Berlin, and not just since Corona. But where does "Berlin" end, where does it begin, and can man-made cultural landscapes like those on Berlin's borders really be held up as a contrast to the city?

How should " the city " be planned beyond central locations and what is the contribution of architecture - this is what this design studio is about. The conceptual framework for this question is provided by the "Green Archipelago" of 1977, which described the former West Berlin as an archipelago of compact urban islands embedded in a green park landscape. Within the context of our studio the “Green Archipelago” describes the urban planning model for a minimally invasive approach to reinterpret existing landscapes. Critical Mass describes the concept for the urban islands of this archipelago - equally large and compact buildings with a hybrid use and a minimal footprint.

Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region

Due to a continuous increase in population, Berlin has been under enormous development pressure for several years. With a current population of around 3,750,000, in 2021 the city has reached its highest population level since the end of the Second World War. With the COVID19 pandemic, Berlin's growth rates declined, but this seems to be related only to a shift of growth to Brandenburg into Berlin's "Speckgürtel".1

Housing construction in Berlin has not been able to keep pace with this development. On average, the state of Berlin is lacking about 80,000 apartments per year.2 One reason was and still is development policy. Since the 1990s, the Berlin Senate has concentrated on internal development („Innenentwicklung“). Formerly numerous vacant lots have been redeveloped. However, inner-city redensification has stalled in recent years for a variety of reasons, including a shortage of land, disputes over planning models („Leitbilder“), rising land prices and time-consuming planning and participation processes. As a result, the targeted new construction quotas have not been met.

Grand Berlin ATLAS, (1)Landscape, (2) Sub-Urbanity, F.Geipel, M. Murrenhoff, A. Saad, 2015/2016

Neulichterfelde development area

Evidence of outdated planning concepts is the 96-hectare "Neulichterfelde" development area in the southwest of the city, directly on the border with Brandenburg, which has been in the planning stage since 2012. Starting this year, 240,000 square meters of residential and commercial space are to be built on the former U.S. troop training area. The Groth Group's 2019 master plan3 calls for small-scale, land-intensive development on 39 hectares with outdated building typologies and mobility concepts. As early as 2010, a competition announcement by the state-owned Berlin housing company HoWoGe criticized the status quo as follows:

"Against the background of continuous urban growth, [...] peripheral settlement areas are increasingly coming into the planning focus, which are characterized by outdated suburban building typologies, low density, increased individual traffic and high land consumption. Future urban development is confronted with the challenge of creating sustainable, land-saving and urban development and expansion opportunities at the edges of the city, which have a density appropriate to the nearby agricultural and natural landscapes, as well as suitable building typologies."
source: HoWoGe, Auszug aus der Bekanntmachung des Ideenwettbewerbs "Stadtbaupuzzle für den Berliner Stadtrand", Stand: 9.10.2010

Green Archipelago / Critical Mass

The "Green Archipelago" (Oswald Mathias Ungers and Rem Koolhaas with Peter Riemann, Hans Kollhoff and Arthur Ovaska), published in 1977 in the context of a shrinking West Berlin, describes "a future urban model" for Berlin. The basic idea was to translate the demographic shrinkage process into a controlled deconstruction of the building stock. The manifesto described West Berlin as a "federation [...] of differently structured, deliberately antithetically designed urban units" separated by a park-like landscape of natural and green strips, and interconnected by infrastructure. Each individual island a "city within the city" submerged by landscape.

Within the framework of the design studio, we want to apply this dialectical model to Berlin's periphery, but under reversed premises: the city grows, it pushes into the existing landscape. Instead of a land-intensive expansion of built-up areas, we propose a gentle, selective reduction of the existing landscape and vegetation. Designing, then, requires a reverse thought process. Since the landscape is already "there", the question of a minimally invasive architecture, measured in terms of land consumption, arises above all. The guiding principle here is the idea of "critical mass," which aims for buildings that are both large and compact, with hybrid uses and a minimal footprint. In addition to a high degree of land utilization, critical mass also holds a programmatic promise for us, the idea of a surplus: scale-induced savings are to be repurposed for a communal benefit. This collectively used "infrastructure" can address both the house community and a wider public.

Atlanpole, Nantes, Hans Kollhoff, 1988

„Masterplan“ / Site

The Neulichterfelde development area is located in southern Lichterfelde. The 96-hectare area is a former military training area with partly lush vegetation. The southern edge of the site forms the border between Berlin and Brandenburg, and the border is directly reflected in the shape of the site. The site is directly connected to the center of Berlin and the S-Bahn and U-Bahn networks via the Lichterfelde Süd S-Bahn station (S25/S26). A second exit is planned to the south of the station. To the north is the Thermometersiedlung, a large, prefabricated housing estate from the 1970s; to the east and west, the area is characterized by row houses and single-family homes.

source: Google Satellite


Each design group will be assigned a sector on the Neulichterfelde development site. For this sector, you are to develop a hybrid-use building with a compact cubature (total GFA of 30,000 to 50,000 square meters) and a minimal footprint. The program is based on the specifications of the Berlin Senate: 5/6 residential, 1/6 commercial and social infrastructure. The outlined development sectors describe a vague guideline for the positioning of the buildings. With sound arguments, you are free to circumvent these specifications. Nevertheless, the buildings should be related to the surrounding landscape (and buildings), and if possible, they should also be coordinated with the neighboring buildings that are being created at the same time. Opportunities for such coordination are provided by the pin-ups and the intermediate presentation. All buildings shall be served by the given infrastructural axis(es). Their profile and use is to be differentiated on a project-specific basis.


Design Studio
Master: Arch M E. 01 Entwurfsprojekt Hochbau I (EP 12ECTS/8SWS)
Master: M-Arch-T P(15) Design Studio (iV 12ECTS/8SWS)

Master: Arch M E. 01 Projektintegrierte Veranstaltung zum Hochbau I (PiV 3ECTS/2SWS)
Master: M-Arch-T P(15) Design Studio Integrated Seminar Typology (iV 3ECTS/2SWS

Important Dates

Wednesday, April 13 2022 Email notification of studio participation.

Thursday, April 21 2022 13.00-20.00 h Studio introduction / model making workshop

Thursday, May 05 2022 14.00-16.00 h Pin-up 1

Thursday, May 19 2022 10.00-12.00 h Pin-up 2

Thursday, June 9 2022 10.00-14.00 h Intermediate Presentation

Thursday, June 30 2022 10.00-12.00 h Pin-up 3

Thursday, July 21 2022 10.00-14.00 h Final presentation

Please check the schedule on tubcloud regularly for any changes.


We start with a two-week analysis phase in which the area is studied and project references are analyzed. This is followed by a two-week experimentation phase in which three design scenarios are developed. Subsequently, two of these scenarios will be pursued with the goal of presenting one of these scenarios as a concept in the intermediate presentation. Until the final presentation, this concept will be elaborated in the form of plans, sections, models and further drawings on a scale of 1:200.
Für weitere Informationen bezüglich der Online-Lehre und des Semesterablaufs lesen Sie bitte
den Design Brief im Download Bereich.


The study language is English, all teaching materials except the project brief are formulated in English. Students are free to speak, write or present in English or German. If the students wish, individual feedback from the teachers can also be given in German.


Design Brief


For further information, please contact our research assistant Martin Murrenhoff (

For technical questions about tubcloud, studio access, stryrocutters, or similar. Please contact our tutor Niki Sidirourgou (

For all administrative matters please contact Katrin Ritter (