Germany, Berlin 

Jakob-Kaiser-Haus - Houses 4 and 8


Competition 1994
Design Meinhard von Gerkan
Partner Hubert Nienhoff
Project managers Bernd Gossmann, Beate Kling, Henning Schlattmeier
Project team Brigitte Feuerer, Bernhard Galetto, Jacqueline Huste,
Irmgard Hermes, Boris Krusenotto, Lutz Kessels, Annette Löber,
Ivanka Perkovic, José-Maria Poveda, Ruth Scheurer, Sven Schmedes,
Franka Schulz, Angelika Steffens
Students Bianca Dittrich, Christian Klimaschka, Iris Müller,
Andreas Trick, Christoph Tillmann
Structural engineers Horz-Ladewig
Mechanical engineers SRP – Schmidt Reuter & Partner
Landscape architects WES (Grünplanung als Kunst am Bau)
Lighting design Bartenbach Lichtlabor GmbH
Client Federal Republic of Germany
Planning period 1994–2000
Construction period 1997–2001
Gross floor area approx. 38,700 m²
Volume 140,000 m³



Arwed Messmer

Marcus Bredt

Roland Halbe

The buildings 4 and 8 planned by gmp form the eastern termination of Jakob-Kaiser-Haus along Wilhelmstraße. They repeat the historic typology of the Berlin high-density development, their clear geometric forms creating a defined urban space.

Both houses are almost exclusively reserved for office use. In order to integrate the buildings into public activities and to enhance the urban quality, a total of four shops are planned on the ground floor on Wilhelmstraße.

The internal circulation in both houses is effected via single flight stairs in the six-storeyed volumes of the eastern building wings. On the fifth floor, these stairs lead from the north (in house 4) respectively the south (in house 8) directly to a closed bridge, which traverses Dorotheenstraße.

The façades are clad with cedar wood and shell lime, horizontally movable shading devices allow for the required shading of the offices. All offices are also equipped with a small balconet similar to a French balcony, which together with the shading devices forms part of a box element from wood and glass. The façade proportions are based on the tension between the alternation of open office areas and closed calm wall surfaces. The conference rooms in the corners of the building are formally accentuated in the façade with loggias and large areas of glass behind.

The northern inner courtyard, enclosed by the houses 3 and 4, forms the urban spatial relationship to the Spree and the Spree promenade. The not air-conditioned east-west hall, which is completely glazed in this area, connects house 4 with the neighbouring building. It penetrates the courtyard and can be completely opened up with floor-to-roof glazed revolving leaves in appropriate weather.

The inner courtyards used as gardens, where water areas, piled up stone slabs and pine trees form a harmonious arrangement, convey an atmosphere of calm and balance.

When the revolving leaves of the glass hall are open, the northern courtyard almost continuously extends up to the Spree promenade.