House of German Economy

Berlin / 1999

Competition 1st Prize

There is no location in Berlin more central than this for the three federations sharing this building: the Confederation of German Employer Associations (BDA), the Federal Association of German Industry (BDI) and the Federation of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHT). It is located on Breite Straße, practically right in the middle of the historic ‘germ cell’ of the city and takes up the motif of individual houses by consisting of several structural units.

From the third floor up, the DIHT section has double strip windows projecting from the facade surface and lending it horizontal relief. The motif of the strip window follows classical modernism and maintains a powerful architectural stance against the busy, noisy traffic along Mühlendamm.

One of the most successful aspects of the building is its impressive as well as expressive three-part-sequel facade overlooking the Spree. The DIHT section is followed by a conference tower. It is slightly set back and has a high ‘conservatory’ front towards the river consisting of point-fixed glass panes reaching almost to the top of the building. The Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson designed a light installation for it, based on the simulation of lightning.

The intended airy flair of the inner courtyard is enhanced by almost entirely glazed facades with pale beechwood frames. The weatherprotective glass and steel canopy vaulting over the entire courtyard is vaguely reminiscent of Palladio’s Basilica in Vicenza. The canopy is visible from afar and ‘anchors’ the building in the urban topography of Berlin.

CLIENT:

BDI BDA DIHT

CONSTRUCTION:

1996-1999

AREA:

27.000 sqm

DESIGN:

LP 1-6, 7-8 part. Architekten Schweger + Partner Schweger Reifenstein Schneider Kohl Meyer