Appels Architekten: Urban infill in Berlin – between the courtyards - best architects 24 in gold

Appels Architekten

Urban infill in Berlin – between the courtyards

best architects 24 in gold

multi-family homes


Zurich, Switzerland


Simon Menges


The building fills a gap in the second row of a typical Berlin perimeter block development where in 1906 a front and rear building were constructed, the latter of which was destroyed during the war. The volume of the new infill largely corresponds to the pre-war development, and its S-shape encloses two courtyards within the block. Together with the street-facing exterior space, three typologically different outdoor situations are created. This theme is conceptually explored from the public street space through the central middle courtyard to the quieter, green garden courtyard via changes in pavement, topography, furnishings and vegetation. The rough mineral materialisation and the perforated façade of the building are inspired by the Berlin townhouses of the neighbourhood. However, large floor-to-ceiling windows and the two-storey ground floor façade lend the building an individual identity in the courtyard of the complex. The mix of 24 units is versatile and ranges from single to family apartments. The clever configuration of duplex apartments on the ground floors around the courtyards allows for inner-city ground floor living with plenty of privacy and individual access. In the materialisation of the interior spaces, many surfaces were left rough in order not to hide the dwindling artisanal traces in modern apartment construction and to maintain their essential nature as an atmospheric element.