While some may say the office is dead, the real test becomes how workplaces can stay relevant to users’ needs by continuing to facilitate collaboration and innovation. Berlin-based practice LXSY Architekten completed the restoration and adaptation of a former post office building in the city’s Kreuzberg quarter; an area which became a place for ‘creatives’ following the second world war. The architect has converted the listed building, constructed in the 1920s, into a co-working and event space for Spielfeld Digital Hub; a company which aims to “unlock creativity and ignite the minds of a community working towards digital transformation”.
Under the challenging circumstances posed by the coronavirus, the need for space “where corporates and startups sit side-by-side” is potentially more resonant than ever, given the affinity for new businesses to be born out of economic recession.
The listed industrial building has a long rectangular plan with an additional hexagonal room off the centre, which historically hosted the former post office counter hall. This theatrical space now forms an ideal collaborative break-out space and is open for events, seminars and large-scale meetings. Elsewhere, the scheme is abundant with choice for workers, featuring spaces of all sizes; a large conference room, five offices and a small meeting room make up the formal working options, with a workshop, seminar room and private telephone-box booths providing alternative break-out options. An open-plan café and social stair are publicly accessible.
Statement steel railings travel the ceiling in pillar-box red and hold heavy textile curtains which provide visual separation and improve internal acoustics while limiting the invasiveness of the adaptation on the existing structure. Rooms can, therefore, be individually combined and connected to form spaces of different sizes depending on need. Decorative pops of red throughout echo the structural elements of the intervention.
Bespoke birch-wood clad furniture elements define new interventions and contrast the raw character of the former industrial building, which is unveiled throughout in the form of original concrete pillars and polished stone floors, creating a contemporary aesthetic which interacts with the historic red-brick exterior.
Photos | ishootbuildings