In the last hundred years the Alexanderplatz in Berlin has witnessed profound changes and the Kaufhof department store itself displays no exception.
The origins of the department store at Alexanderplatz trace back to the beginning of the 20th century with the constitution of the department store Tietz. Similar to the present building the historic structure describes a forming feature of the square.
After the banishment and condemnation of the Jewish founder family Tietz in the 30ies, its partial damage during the Second World War and its demolition in the 60ies, it was reconstructed as a “Centrum Warenhaus“ in a 70s style and integrated in a completely different modern urban fabric. With its position and a façade of moulded aluminium panels it became the squares dominant feature again.
After the German Reunification the building was integrated into the Kaufhof und Warenhaus AG, which immediately initiated refurbishments. In 1993 the Alexanderplatz Master Plan created a new guideline for a more compact urban development.
Ten years later Prof. Josef P. Kleihues presents the Kaufhof redevelopment concept.
As this scheme includes such profound changes, the redeveloped building should be considered new.
The redevelopment concept envisions an extension of the building of 25m towards the Alexanderplatz. Formerly occupying the 4th and 5th level, the building services and the administration moves into a new setback top floor, allowing additional sale space on the now vacant floors.
During sales operations, the complete technical infrastructure is removed. In order to gain a vast and open sales space the new staircases and technical cores are moved to the longitudinal sides of the building. A light-flooded inner courtyard with escalators builds the new centre of the building.
The functions are layered vertically and structured into the following key areas:
Level - 2 building services, ventilation, storage
Level - 1 delivery of stocks, food storage and preparation, building services, staff cloak rooms
Ground-level sales areas, smaller shops along the longitudinal sides of the building, grocery section along Karl-Liebknecht-Str
Levels 1-3 sales areas
Level 4 sales areas and staff canteen
Level 5 building services and administration
Embodying the character of the building, the new facade is a modern interpretation of the classic department store architecture, including elements like grand entrances, a two-storey base and moulded, clearly structured natural stone surfaces.
Although the display of the merchandise primary requires walls, on all sides big windows are created.
With the design of the Galeria Kaufhof, the Alexanderplatz regains a capital
department store which self-confidently rises besides its neighbours and forms a new a piece of the city.