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Laboratory for Integrative Architecture 

Architectural Design Studio, Summer 2020

Master Architecture Typology

german version


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.


In this semester, the application for the studio is organised centrally through the Institute for Architecture. If you are interested to join our design studio please look into the KVV (Kommentiertes Vorlesungsverzeichnis) on the IfA Website for further instructions:


Berlin´s urban space has been under pressure for several years. Continued population growth gives rise to new needs that have a massive impact on the city's urban systems and the limited space of the city. Rising land prices and scarcity of land give rise to the recent emergence of compact and dense building types. One of these types is the Deep Plan - a building typology with a deep floor plan. The task of the design studio is to develop such a building type with a multifunctional program for a plot of land located at the end of Sonnenallee in Neukölln.

Berlin under pressure
Triggered by rapid population growth, Berlin has been under pressure for several years now. With a current population of ca. 3.750.000 million inhabitants, the city’s population has reached its highest level since the end of the Second World War. In the last five years, Berlin has registered 47.700 new inhabitants per year. The sustained growth has led to a general increase in real estate prices and triggered gentrification processes in previously socially mixed and central districts such as Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Friedrichshain. Increase in prices have also led to population shifts from Berlin´s inner city to the more favourable outskirts and beyond.

New needs
Growth has generated a number of new needs and uses that are perceptible throughout the city and have a direct impact on the city’s urban systems. To provide enough housing for its growing population, the city needs 20.000 new flats per year. As a consequence, the formerly abundant urban voids are being rapidly filled with new housing developments – not without resistance from the local residents. The question is how to mediate between inevitable change and the preservation of established structures.

Unité d'Habitation, Le Corbusier, Marseille, 1945    Entwurf Ikea City Center, Querkraft. Wienlinks: Unité d'Habitation, Le Corbusier, Marseille, 1945; rechts: Entwurf Ikea City Center, Querkraft. Wien

In central areas, there is not only a lack of low-income housing but also housing for young families, shared flats, students or the elderly. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult for public housing companies or newly emerging cooperatives to build new low-cost dwellings, partly
due to the scarcity of affordable public land for building. Nevertheless, affordable and various forms of housing are urgently needed to guarantee an established social mix and a balanced urban development, while taking into account the general diversification of lifestyles in society.

Growth not only challenges the housing system, but also puts pressure on micro-economic systems, such as small manufacturing enterprises in centrally located industrial estates: In contrast to many established residential areas, these do not enjoy the status of "Social Preservation Areas" ("Milieuschutzgebiete") and are increasingly in danger of being replaced by housing constructions. At the same time, driven by new, decentralized digital production methods of the so-called "Industry 4.0", there seems to be a trend towards small-scale, urban production, "open workshops" and "urban manufacturing". The question arises as to which concepts can reinvent the programmatic mix between housing and urban production.

Current growth is also affecting public infrastructure, services and public space. During peak hours, the utilisation of public transport infrastructure like U- and S-Bahn is now reminiscent of Paris or Tokyo. Spaces and staff for schools, kindergardens and hospitals have reached their capacity and need to be expanded. Parks, lakes and squares are becoming more and more crowded. A significant increase in traffic can be observed on the streets, caused by commuters and delivery services as a result of growing online marketing. The increasing popularity of bicycles, cargo bikes and mobility-on-demand systems (such as cars-on-demand, e-scooters and pedelecs) is further increasing the utilisation of public space. The pressure on the roads and the diversification of mobility forms call into question the established surface distributions between transport modes and reflect the need to think about new, integrative urban structures.

Growth versus land scarcity
Since Berlin has a limited territory as a city-state and the Berlin Senate has opted for inner development for reasons of sustainability, growth and the resulting needs have to be absorbed by the existing city and its systems. This fundamentally calls into question the availability of brownfields (often informally used) and generous open spaces in centrally located areas, which was characteristic of Berlin in the past, and spaces for the settlement of new uses are now becoming a limited resource.

Burroughs Welcome Company Building, Paul Rudloph, Durham, 1969, built
Burroughs Welcome Company Building, Paul Rudloph, Durham, 1969, built

Growth pressure and land scarcity call for the existing city to use its areas and spaces more efficiently, to find new potential areas and to think about overlapping different uses in the same space. It is necessary to overcome the modernist idea of functional separation, which is still reflected in the compartmentalized thinking in administrations, and to perceive urban systems as spatially integrated. At the same time, the question arises as to how the interests of the established social and spatial structures can be taken into account. Current discussions about Berlin Senate's "Hochhausleitbild" (high-rise models) , the "Bodenfrage" or residential skyscrapers suggest that the city needs new building typologies that utilize space more efficiently and at the same time accommodate the demand for different uses.

Deep Plan
With its deep building floor plan, the Deep Plan typology covers more site area than conventional buildings and thus uses space more efficiently. In addition to residential and office uses, the depth of the building type allows for programs that require large surface areas, such as supermarkets, sports facilities, event or production space.

The task of the design studio is to develop a multifunctional building with a deep floor plan for a plot of land located at the end of Sonnenallee in Neukölln. The depth of the building has to be more than 25 meters, which is beyond the usual standards for double-sided naturally-lit spaces. Apart from living and working spaces, there should be predominantly other programs derived from the above-mentioned social and urban dynamics; furthermore, its advantageous location should be taken into consideration.

Grundstück am Ende der Sonnenallee, Source: Google maps

Buildings with a deep plan create interior spaces that are poorly lit; therefore, one of the greatest challenges for the design project is to address the issue of lighting. What are the strategies for dealing with these spaces? Which uses would be sensible there? Would it be possible to incorportate programs and spaces that do not require day-lighting there? Or should light be brought into these spaces, and if so, in what way?

Project area
The project site is situated between the arterial roads Sonnenallee, Grenzallee and the S-Bahn railway. Flanked by the ongoing construction site for the expansion of the A100 motorway to Sonnenallee and Treptower Park, the project site is surrounded by streets and railways with high traffic volume on all sides. The site boundary has a surface area of about 8.000m2.

It has good access to public transit, urban logistics, transport links within and beyond the city center; however, the topography of the public infrastructure - new tunnel of the A100 and the elevated S-Bahn, creates a physical barrier between the site and the rest of the city, leaving it underdeveloped and used as a parking lot next to industrial and outlet buildings in the area. Furthermore, noise emissions and air pollution from the streets, railway and highway pose a significant challenge for residential developments in the area.

Located at the threshold between the industrial, residential periphery and the historical neighborhoods of Neukölln, the heterogeneous urban fabric around the site is characterised by large-scale industrial areas, administrative buildings, large hotel complex, diverse housing typologies, allotment gardens and the historical Ship Canal (Neuköllner Schifffahrtskanal).

In the near future, the area will undergo drastic transformations resulting from the completion of the inner-city highway extension leading to the future BER international airport and the construction of Estrel Tower, which will be the tallest high-rise in Berlin. According to the current zoning plan, the project site is designated as a commercial area and retains its monofunctional character. Its full potential is yet to be explored with the urban growth and its access to transport links in its immediate vicinity.

The specified site boundary is for orientation purposes only. The design project only has to lie within this boundary and its position can be defined according to the design. In this design studio, we will assume that the current land use plan can be modified and converted to other uses.


Design Studio
Master: Arch M E. 03 Entwurfsprojekt Hochbau II (EP 12ECTS/8SWS)
Master: M-Arch-T P(15) Design Studio (iV 12ECTS/8SWS)

Master: Arch M E. 03 Projektintegrierte Veranstaltung zum Hochbau II (PiV 3ECTS/2SWS)
Master: M-Arch-T P(15) Design Studio Integrated Seminar Typology (iV 3ECTS/2SWS)

Online Teaching
During the current Corona-Crisis and the duration of the official contact limitations, the studio will be carried out in an online teaching format. For further details please see chapter "collaboration".

General Dates
April 22 2020 - by Email - Notification on studio participation
April 23 2020 - 10.00-13.00 h - Online studio introduction
May 14 2020 - 10.00-12.00 h - Online Pin-up 1
June 4 2020 - 10.00-12.00 h - Online mid-term presentation
June 25 2020 - 10.00-12.00 h - Online Pin-up 2
July 16 2020 - 10.00-12.00 h - Online final presentation

Please check the detailed timetable on ISIS on a regular basis for latest updates.

The Projektintegrierte Veranstaltung (project-integrated seminar – PiV) will be carried out in collaboration with TEK / Prof. Klaus Rückert and will focus on the structural design.

Online teaching formats
Weekly online crits with the research associates as well as two online pin-ups and two online presentations (with Prof. Geipel, the research associates, and possibly with external guest critics) will accompany the process.

Every design team consists of 4 students. After an experimental 3-week analysis phase, in which project references, the site and first design scenarios will be studied, the design project will be developed conceptually until the mid-term presentation and will be further elaborated until the final presentation in form of plans, sections, models and other drawings in the scale of 1:200.

The studio language is English. This means that the teaching staff will transmit all documents except the bi-lingual design brief in English. The students are free to talk, write and present in English or German. If the students whish, individual feedback by the teaching staff can also happen in German.


Group work and online teaching
Students will work in groups of four throughout the design studio. Due to the current Coronavirus situation, regulations regarding social distancing and hygiene must be strictly adhered to. Collaboration between individual students, and also between the department and student groups, will therefore take place exclusively online for the duration of the stay-at-home order. For this reason, a good division of work and regular communication via telephone or online tools between group members is essential.

Online format and access
The online format of collaboration for the durtaion of the stay-at-home order is explained in more detail in the studio brief, available in the ‘downloads’ section. To gain access to online platforms, students who are enrolled in the design studio have to send their TU email address to our tutor Mihaela Antonova ( They will then receive access links to the platforms such as ISIS, tubCloud, meet@InnoCampus / Jitsi, WebEx etc. 


Studio Brief
Reference projects


Für weitere Informationen kontaktieren Sie bitte die wissenschaftlichen Mitarbeiter:
Germain Chain
wiss. Mitarbeiterin

Ali Saad
wiss. Mitarbeiter

For technical support concerning online teaching and the respective platforms and programs please contact our tutor:
Katerina Mareckova

Für alle administrativen Angelegenheiten kontaktieren Sie bitte unser Secretariat: 
Katrin Ritter,
Sekretariat A 20, Raum 911.
Mittwoch bis Freitag: 11.00-13.00