Sleeping Giants

Berlin, Germany

As the world’s largest contiguous airport building following its completion in 1941, Tempelhof Airport became a key transport hub for West Berlin during the Cold War, before it was finally put out of use in 2008.

The landmark site has now been regenerated to form Berlin’s largest public park, with the listed historic airport buildings being refurbished to provide temporary homes for refugees, office space for the local police force and potentially business units and gallery spaces in the future.

Challenge

Buro Happold was commissioned to review reference projects in Europe in order to rejuvenate the former airport buildings and site.

Solution

Our experts developed a matrix for the project, working closely with Berlin Senate to gain a full understanding to attract the right tenants for each plot, while also guiding the financial plan for the development of the site. As well as considering the future potential for the buildings, we evaluated the full scope of requirements for the site, including energy planning, conservation and building operation costs.

In order to effectively deliver an energy and recourse efficient refurbishment of the project, our team carried out studies of comparable buildings that have already been refurbished to identify successful strategies for energy, cost and CO2 savings. We used this research alongside the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) criteria for existing buildings to formulate an effective overall strategy.

The size and complexity of the project represents a complex set of opportunities and limitations. Using our extensive experience in redesigning historic places, we were able to demonstrate how the size of the space offered opportunities for a variety of uses and their respective transformation costs. Our evaluation shows that the diverse space can be split into distinct areas to create work and commercial spaces for a number of different uses, including reception areas, offices, workshops and larger retail units.

Our experts developed a matrix for the project, working closely with Berlin Senate to gain a full understanding to attract the right tenants for each plot, while also guiding the financial plan for the development of the site. As well as considering the future potential for the buildings, we evaluated the full scope of requirements for the site, including energy planning, conservation and building operation costs.

Thomas Kraubitz, Associate

Value

Our work will help to set new standards for a sustainable future for Tempelhof Airport and other Sleeping Giants waiting for rejuvenation. The project creates a benchmark not only for the redevelopment of airport buildings but also for the reinvention of historic sites into important spaces for the community and beyond.

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