An urban residential estate – individual homes, a large garden, green roofs, expansive views, entrances with direct access from the street to the homes, and rear parking spaces: Project BIGyard is the focused implementation of the dream of a single family home in the heart of Berlin.
Starting point: The location
The property is surrounded by 22 m high walls on two and a half sides. The street façade faces north and a listed church flanks one side. Responding to the difficult conditions, three different typologies were developed with unmistakable characteristics. The street-side townhouse construction is only 4 storeys high, to prevent overshadowing the three-storey firewall garden houses and garden. The garden is raised to the 1st floor level for additional light, with the garage beneath it. Three-storey penthouses with fine views and double-oriented top floors dominate above.
The two-row apartment building closes the block perimeter and consists of 45 individual homes, each with single-family home characteristics.
23 townhouses along the street have separate front entrances and rear parking access. With a breadth of mainly 3.65 m, the four floors have split-level organisation, with a 4.20 m kitchen/living room, direct garden access, a visually shielded roof terrace and a roof garden.
Direct garden access provides interior light and individual rear entrances. 10 three-storey garden houses have strikingly large room areas and heights, loggias, balconies and split-level organisation.
Above the garden houses, 12 three-storey penthouses are double-oriented on the top floor. From visually shielded patios, they have direct access to roof terraces with city views.
Community – Privacy - City
The advantages of one’s own home, combined with the density of a residential estate, give new significance to the aspect of community. The development reflects precisely that combination of community and privacy.
The buildings have several entrances providing independent access, while paths in the courtyard, lobby, garage and street repeatedly overlap. The project’s size allowed a series of communal facilities. Highlights include the 1,300 m2 communal yard, which is not divided into individual gardens, the 250 m2 common roof terrace with views of Berlin and cooking facilities, the sauna and four guest apartments.
The car-free garden, the narrow modular grid and separate, yet overlapping access give the project’s uses a village- like character. The town houses open out towards the street – and the city – each with shop windows in one room, allowing use by small businesses or providing as much insight into the interior life as the residents wish.
Joint building venture
The project was implemented as a joint venture. The specialist coordinators SmartHoming supervised the 72 partners in constructing the building under autonomous responsibility. No development company carried the risk and profited from the project, so the square-metre prices were well below the market level. From room layouts to bathroom tiling, the 72 owners could fulfil their own interior requirements. Everything affecting the community, such as the façade, shell construction and garden design, was planned by the architects in coordination with the group.