From underground bunkers to converted fetish clubs, Berlin’s art scene has always disrupted the status quo. The latest creative nerve centre to be unveiled is a project developed by London-based firm Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, in tandem with musician and photographer Bryan Adams, Hoidn Wang Partner, and Sauerzapfe Architekten.
Located in the southeastern district of Treptow-Köpenick, the newly minted Spreehalle will house 12 artist’s ateliers in a former factory building that was one part of an extensive complex belonging to the AEG Kabelwerk group (General Electric Company). Feilden Clegg Bradley has retained the industrial bones of the building, which dates from 1910, including two distinctive brick and steel halls.
‘The underlying idea was to create this “raw space”, clean, clear and free from fripperies and impositions that would allow the users to represent their own personalities and requirements within the ateliers,’ explain the architects. To wit, Spreehalle preserves much of the ‘industrial patina accumulated during [the building’s] history’ across a 2,500 sq m area.
Swathes of bare concrete and brickwork will allow the compound’s future residents to shape their individual salons to their needs. A new extension, meanwhile, offers premises for lofts, offices and galleries. The north and south elevations have been updated with steel window and door replacements.
Eight of the ateliers are part of a three-storey wing on the west, while the remaining four are housed in the former double-bay factory hall. On the west side, the existing two-storey structure was raised by a generous 5m high atelier space. Each atelier boasts a separate external space, in the form of a balcony (some with views of the Spree river) or a garden. The ground floor of the east wing could eventually include a shop and café. At the centre of the property a communal courtyard connects the two linear main halls, which the architects created by removing the roof but retaining the steel structure.
Spreehalle will attract like-minded tenants from the spheres of art, architecture, graphic design, publishing and advertising. The initiative shores up a wider regeneration project in the area, spearheaded the council of Treptow-Köpenick. A number of crafts workshops are located nearby, while a new public square and pedestrian bridge have already been constructed, together with boat moorings along the riverbank.