INDUSTRIAL CHARM MEETS START-UP! AMBIENCE
What does one do with an ageing department store in an attractive Berlin location? Transform it into a state-of-the-art office location. This happened to the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) Department store Centrum in Friedrichshain, Berlin. The architectural conversion resulted in Up!The GDR building, which is close to the East Side Gallery and the Zalando Campus in Friedrichshain, has an unusual past. First opened in 1979, the vast cubic structure was a branch of the GDR Centrum department store chain. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was taken over by Hertie and then Galeria Kaufhof. The building has now been completely reinvented and perfectly adapted to the needs of the new world of work by Gewers Pudewill and Jasper Architects.
At the top of the to-do list was to bring more daylight into the interior. Four ‘slices’ were cut out of the monolithic facade, creating a stepped fascia effect that generated more exterior glazed surfaces (by more than a third) to maximise natural light.
Now daylight bathes the central areas of the building and there is more space for outdoor terraces for employees on each floor. At the same time, the interior was completely gutted to create new open-plan office spaces with communal areas as well as retreat and meeting spaces. The result is a unique urban highlight and one of Berlin’s most attractive and sustainable office complexes.
Rather than denying its history, Up! consciously integrates the past into its new usage concept. The imposing industrial infrastructure with pipes, large stained concrete surfaces, rust and drill holes testify to the industrial history as a department store. A uniquely modern working atmosphere is created with a state-of-the-art interior, e.g., glass partitions and colourful flooring.
A central building block and a style-defining element in the interior is the lighting. To meet the demands of a state-of-the-art and future-proof office building, it must be convincing in terms of efficiency and quality of illumination and luminaire design. Here, too, Up! sets new standards. The lighting concept was conceived by the renowned lighting design firm Licht Kunst Licht, which was named Germany’s ‘Most Innovative Lighting Design Company’ in 2020.STYLISH AND FLEXIBLE
The task was to illuminate approximately 65,000 square metres from the stairwell to the executive office. The luminaire of choice for the entire building was the TRILUX E-Line NEXT LED continuous row in stylish black. Thanks to its modular design, the luminaire perfectly adapts to the various application areas in the building. For example, the UGR19 variant is used above computer workstations.
With its minimalist, timeless design, the E-Line NEXT LED harmonises perfectly with the new work environment. Its building-wide use acts as a connecting and identity-creating element in the complex.
Another plus point is that using the Flex variant allows the luminaire modules to be positioned anywhere on the trunking rail, thanks to the continuous wiring, which meets the client’s requirement for maximum flexibility and freedom in lighting design. It also applies to the 3-phase tracks integrated into some areas where users can insert their own luminaires.
Intelligent control via external light management or building management systems is particularly sustainable. Sensors in and around the building record main parameters such as brightness, the sun’s position and temperature and use this information to regulate the lighting and sun protection.
The large windows for high sunlight penetration, the highly efficient luminaires and an intelligent control system are essential components that make Up! one of the most sustainable office buildings in Berlin.