The listed warehouse building was built in 1897/98, situated between the Berlin Spandau Ship Canal and the former Lehrter freight station, to experiment with differing methods of grain storage in response to the growing population of the late 19th century.
After less than 20 years of operation, an extension was added to the well-preserved, original part of the silo warehouse (BT1). In the course of this extension, the inner wooden construction of ceilings, supports and beams was replaced in 1915/16 by the installation of a reinforced concrete skeleton and the extension (BT2) was constructed as a reinforced concrete frame construction.
The extension served, among other things, for the comparative evaluation of silo and bulk storage and the testing of modern machine technology. The entire construction was able to hold 1110 t of grain and the building documents in a special way the industrial, social and economic history of Berlin from the end of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century.
The use of reinforced concrete was still being tested in Germany at the time of its construction, and the rarity of the special trichet storage ceilings make the building an important witness to the beginnings of concrete construction technology in Germany from the point of view of monument preservation.
Today, through a sequence of spatial interventions, the building has undergone diligent renovation – the historical brick façade has been refurbished and the internal concrete structure restored – and conversion, serving as unique contemporary office spaces with integrated spaces for public use.
The converted building, with its direct waterfront location, stands embedded in a dense structure of modern residential buildings of the late 2010s / early 2020s of today's "Europacity" and is the only historical landmark in today's "Wasserstadt Mitte".
GRAIN TEST STORE - REFURBISHMENT & TRANSFORMATION
The conversion of the granary ware house is defined by the partial dismantling of existing concrete supporting structures and a few striking structural interventions as well as its rooftop extension. By means of a sequence of space-creating interventions, which were carefully developed in harmony with the listed building, it was possible to convert the building for contemporary use. The four main interventions are described below.
INTERVENTION 1 > ADDITION OF A STOREY:
The design of the striking rooftop extension was justified, in terms of conservation, as it was based on historical documentation of the original lantern roof structure that had been previously demolished prior to any intervention from AFF Architects. As a result, the original ridge height was restored and the building was significantly strengthened in terms of its cubature and urban presence. Two roof terraces flanking the long sides of the building provide a space forsheltered open-air living and an impressive view of the Spree and Europacity. The solid clinker-brick façade of the existing building is continue dusing the same masonry bond in the restored attic structure and the brick parapet elements, are given a relief-like, ornamental joining created by recesses and perforations in the clinker brickwork.
INTERVENTION 2 >
RENOVATION OF THE FAÇADE AND CREATION OF LARGE-FORMAT OPENINGS:
The historic English brick bond façade was restored, refurbished and supplemented in a few areas where the bricks were non-present. Calcium silicate boards were used to insulate the façade from the inside-out and the existing windows were restored or replaced, in close coordination with the heritage protection authorities, according to the historical models.
The reinforced concrete structure of the façade of the first extension,BT2, had been severely damaged by decades of weathering and was extensively renovated.In the process, it was necessary to dismantle the existing brick infill panels and storage windows so that they could be refurbished and reused. Moreover, to allow for sufficient daylight in response to the new spatial programming, the infill panels were replaced at certain points with large-format fall-proof glazing.
INTERVENTION 3 > PARTIAL DECONSTRUCTION OF THE SLAB CEILINGS:
On every second floor of BT2 extension, in order to convert the build- ing into office and work spaces, a part of the existing ceiling was dismantled to provide the required clearance heights in accordance with the new programming. Without this structural intervention, the new generous room heigh and the impressive view of the historic funnel shaped ceiling would not have been possible. The new gallery levels, built using steel construction, zone the space and create high quality work areas on two levels.
INTERVENTION 4 > INSTALLATION OF SUPPLY CLASP:
The new service core, including a staircase, elevator and sanitary facilities, is positioned at the exact conjunction of the two building parts, BT1 and BT2. On every second floor, the levels of both building parts are connected with each other. Referencing the façade profiling of the new extension, the service core is expressed via exposed con- crete which is ornamented with staggered board cladding on the ground and upper floors, referencing the façade profiling of the new extension.