The 'ornate windows' allude to the use of the building
Fotografia © Claas Dreppenstedt
Fotografia © Levin Monsigny Landschaftsarchitekten
Fotografia © Claas Dreppenstedt
Fotografia © Claas Dreppenstedt
Fotografia © Claas Dreppenstedt

Academy Plaza, Adlershof Science and Technology Park

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Rudower Chaussee, Berlin
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2004

Academy Plaza is part of an open-space system in the new city quarter of Adlershof, the centre of Berlin’s modern science and research community. Approached from the north, the new plaza lies directly in the visual axis of Rudower Avenue and serves both as an orientation point and a green facet within the urban space. At the same time, the plaza is part of a listed historical building ensemble which once housed the German Aviation Research Institute. These buildings, with their strongly structured façades, have a strong influence on the surrounding area. With the introduction of a modern information pavilion at the edge of the plaza, the current users have forged a further accent and Academy Plaza has become the representative entrance to the historic group of buildings.
In the course of its redesign, the surface of the plaza was made out of materials selected to correspond with those found within the historically listed area. Grassed areas, planting beds and footpaths of bright limestone paving materials alternate with one another. Their arrangement creates different areas: a more public space around the information pavilion and a quieter area enclosed by the L-shaped wing of the former research institute. From the buildings, one looks directly out onto the green area, where mountain ash trees lend structure to an open lawn, forming a vibrant sequence of spaces. The loose arrangement of the trees and their transparent, pinnate leaves allow for an ever changing prospect between the street and the buildings. The trees’ blossoms, the ensuing radiance of the berries and the orange autumn glow of the leaves generate coloured accents throughout the changing seasons.
The information pavilion is built on a small square of bright limestone sets where ‘ornate windows’ are positioned. These elements, set into the square’s surface, lead directly to the grass lawn of the plaza, connecting both areas. The use of material here alludes to the surface area of the pavilion; the proportion and structure correspond to the windows of the older buildings.
When seated on the adjacent benches, the viewer encounters an odd sight: low growing plants and metallic figures are to be found within some of the sections of the ‘ornate windows’, leaving one to marvel at the sense and meaning of these puzzling scientific symbols.

Client
Bertelsmann AG, Gütersloh

Architect
Van den Valentyn Architektur, Cologne

Competition
Peer review process: 1st prize, April 2003

Service phases
2-8

Completion
June 2004

Photos
Claas Dreppenstedt

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