General questions

Citizen involvement

Urban planning competition

Urban planning issues

Uses

Park am Gleisdreieck

Traffic

Interim use

General questions

Who is overseeing the development project?

COPRO Projektentwicklung GmbH (www.copro-projekt.de) and the consultancy of Dr Vogel (www.bdrv.net) are responsible for project execution.

When will construction start?

The aim is to realise a large part of the project by 2025. The concrete construction start date currently depends on when planning permission is granted.

 

Citizen involvement

How did the project respond to question and concerns of local residents and concerned citizens during the planning phases?

Everyone interested in the project had an opportunity to share their ideas during a series of participatory dialogues that took place from November 2014 to February 2015. People were informed about the project and invited to participate in the dialogues with marketing materials such as flyers, posters, a website especially created for the project (urbane-mitte.de) – and even a “coffee-mobile”. Most of the ideas collected shaped the resulting consensus paper that sums up the results of the dialogues. These formed the basis for the competition documents created for the following phase of the project. The consensus paper, as well as information about all resident dialogues and talks with development experts and city representatives overseeing urban planning, can found at www.urbane-mitte.de.

Finally, a preview of the competition entries took place in November prior to the end of the second phase of the urban planning competition. This gave citizen representatives the chance to assess and express opinions on the seven final proposals.

A public exhibition of all competition entries took place from 3 to 5 December 2015 in the Deutsches Technikmuseum.

The land use planning documents were publicly displayed at Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg local authority offices from 15 February 2016 to 15 March 2016. Members of the public could view the plans and proposals there along with an explanation of the objectives, purpose and impact of the plans. They could then submit their comments and/or personal opinions on the project.

Local residents and members of the public are to be involved in the future as well. To facilitate this, people will be able to find out more about the project and get involved at the site itself from late summer 2016 onwards.

Why do you talk about a consensus plan although residents’ individual wishes and suggestions have not been taken into account?

Because the parties involved represent such a wide range of interests, it is not possible to include absolutely all individual opinions and wishes when drafting a consensus plan. The concept presented is the result of a majority opinion.

In the workshop process lasting from November 2014 to February 2015, all interested members of the public were invited to contribute their personal suggestions and ideas concerning the construction project. Most of these ideas were incorporated into the consensus concept as the result of the workshop process.

 

Urban planning competition

Who is responsible for the property design?

An urban planning competition was conducted between May and November 2015. The overarching goal of the competition was to determine the primary access routes through the property, the basic contours of the structures, how to properly integrate the planned train station for the line S21 and how space would be divided by use. During the first competition phase, 22 architectural offices submitted entries. Of these, a respected jury selected seven to proceed to the second phase. During this phase, architects and urban planners had an opportunity to further develop their proposals.

The prize winning entries were selected at the second jury session held on 20 November 2015. First place was shared by two Berlin-based architectural offices, COBE Berlin and Ortner & Ortner Baukunst.

Between then and Christmas, the winning designs by COBE Berlin and Ortner & Ortner Baukunst were assessed by planners and expert, who produced recommendations for their further development. The winning firms then honed their proposals by the end of January in line with these recommendations. On 26 April 2016, the competition organiser COPRO and Head Judge Professor Dörte Gatermann decided to adopt the proposal by Ortner & Ortner. This proposal now forms the basis for the development of a master plan and the reminder of the land use planning process.

Will the concept be executed exactly as it is now?

The concept is an urban planning proposal that will now take on a more concrete shape during the subsequent land use planning process. The proposal visualises what the future developed might look like, and as such forms the basis for producing a master plan and for the remainder of the land use planning process.

Why was the proposal by Ortner & Ortner chosen?

The judges were impressed by the flexibility of the planned structures – particularly for sporting activities and an art gallery, but also for food-service outlets and retail. In addition to this, the buildings in the design by Ortner & Ortner have relatively large floor areas, meaning there is a greater focus on building across rather than upwards. This caters to the preferences of creative companies in particular, which favour open-plan workspaces on one level. The wide open spaces between and in front of the individual buildings give the entire development an airy character and create vistas of the listed Gleisdreieck U-Bahn station. A courtyard is also planned by the entrance to the park on Luckenwalder Straße.

 

Urban planning issues

What are the reasons for such dense development?

We live in an age of reurbanisation. People are moving to cities, but these only have a limited area. The results are denser development and growth – and that includes upwards. Ultimately, high-rise structures enable more people to participate in the Urbane Mitte am Gleisdreieck development. This also has an ecological advantage in connection with the site’s optimum public transport links: areas of dense development allow more people to use the buildings, infrastructure and leisure facilities more efficiently. In addition to this, there will be open spaces between the high-rise buildings, affording vistas of the surrounding area.

Back in 2005, the Senate Department for Urban Development earmarked the Urbane Mitte site for a potential newbuild with a calculated gross floor area (GFA) of almost 150,000 square metres. The GFA is the sum of the floor area on each storey and therefore shows the total floor space of the development. With a newbuild GFA of approximately 110,000 m2, the final proposal is considerably below these specifications. In addition to this, the U-Bahn viaducts are to be incorporated into the plans, making them accessible to the public for the first time.

How has the history of the area surrounding Gleisdreieck been integrated into the project?

Kreuzberg has a storied past. The area near Gleisdreieck has undergone many changes in the past, and the large Park am Gleisdreieck has played a major role in its history. The entire location gives Kreuzberg an identity of its own and Urbane Mitte am Gleisdreieck should reflect the area’s DNA as a site for transportation and manufacturing. It is also essential that reviews remain unhindered of the historically protected U-Bahn junction and accompanying railyard.

How has the protection of listed historic buildings been incorporated, and what will become of the listed train station?

The U-Bahn with its viaducts is listed and is not directly affected by the construction work on the site. However, it is due to be integrated into the overall concept as part of the subsequent development process.

We worked with the upper and lower authorities responsible for the preservation of listed historic buildings in connection with the competition.

In accordance with the German building and planning code (BauGB), public bodies are involved in the land use planning process to ensure that the preservation of listed historic buildings is taken into account.

What mitigation and compensation measures are planned to preserve the site’s open spaces?

The idea is to integrate green spaces into the site – and perhaps into the buildings as well – but exactly how this will be done has yet to be decided. Concrete measures will be developed as part of the land use planning process.

What will be done to ensure the safety of residents and visitors to the park?

We will, of course, comply with all building site regulations to ensure that residents and visitors to the park are kept safe during once the construction work commences.

Will there be an increase in particulate matter and noise pollution during the construction phase?

You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. However, modern construction equipment is subject to strict conditions regarding emissions. Statutory limits on working hours apply.

 

Uses

Does the project include residential housing?

Residential usage on the property is highly limited due to the noise of rail transport through the property. Because this property is located in what is known as a “central zone”, residential units are only allowed in exceptional cases.

Does the project include public spaces?

The project strives to create a lively urban quarter. During the participatory dialogues, residents said what kind of uses they wanted from the space. As a result, areas on the ground floor have been earmarked for public uses, such as the planned art hall, as well as for workshops, restaurants and shops. Additional kinds of sports are also planned, to complement the sports x now offered in the neighbouring park. The goal is to create an urban space that entices visitors to stay and relax. This applies to the public transit zone between the Gleisdreieck train station and the U-Bahn viaducts that will be revitalised.

Will areas of the park be reserved for commercial purposes and workshops?

Residents participating in the dialogues made it clear that the area needs more amenities. A new area for shops will be created at Urbane Mitte am Gleisdreieck in the vicinity of the new train station intersection, as well as areas for workshops, trades and studio spaces.

Will new workshops and studios be created?

The desire for more uses for artists was mentioned several times during the dialogues. It has been integrated into the consensus paper. Urbane Mitte foresees the creation of a dynamic mixed-use location – that equally benefits local residents and visitors – and spaces for creativity are an integral part of this concept.

 

Park am Gleisdreieck

Will construction affect the bicycle path?

There will be access routes through the property in the future. This was an important point that came to light during the dialogues. The exact location of the bicycle path still must be determined, however.

Will construction affect Park am Gleisdreieck?

The park is public property and, as such, will be remain unaltered in its current state. Construction will only be performed in designated areas, as outlined in the urban planning contract from 2005.

Will the park be overshadowed by the planned buildings?

In the morning, the buildings will cast a shadow in the direct vicinity of the site, including the park. However, thanks to the favourable orientation of the site (north–south), the park will not be overshadowed by the buildings.

 

Traffic

How will the anticipated increase in traffic (private transport) be dealt with? Is there a traffic analysis?

In terms of traffic, the requirements relating to the design and size of the planned infrastructure and the organisation of traffic on the site (‘inner development’) is being investigated as part of the B-Plan process. Furthermore, the impact of the plans on the directly adjoining road network (‘outer development’) is being determined and the influence on the existing traffic flow evaluated. As part of these investigations, it has been established that the additional source and destination traffic expected to travel through the planned area can be managed with the existing traffic infrastructure and traffic management system.

What will happen with the U-Bahn?

The U-Bahn will not be affected by construction on the property. It will, however, be integrated into the overall development concept.

Why were the arches of the S-Bahn dismantled?

Whereas the U-Bahn train station and viaducts have been designated historically protected structures, the older arches of the S-Bahn were not. They were in disrepair and in danger of collapsing.

 

Interim use

What will happen on the site between now and the start of construction work?

With pioneering use in the form of bars, restaurants, art and culture, sport and work concepts of the future, the site  will be accessible to the public and brought to life even before the construction work begins. The BRLO brewery has been here since summer 2016 with its adjacent bar, restaurant and beer garden, all in a building made entirely from shipping containers, a worldwide unique structure on this scale. With the opening of the B-Part in autumn 2018, a co-working space with an adjacent public event space for art exhibitions or cultural events, another pioneer is moving to the Gleisdreieck. Conceived as a laboratory, B-Part should especially provide a space for addressing issues relating to work and the city of the future as well as bring to life key project content for the Urbane Mitte. The recyclable temporary building is constructed out of wood.