Design Meinhard von Gerkan mit Doris Schäffler und Kristian Uthe-Spencker
Partner Hubert Nienhoff
Project team Kemal Akay, Helga Reimund, René Wiegand, Ursula Köper, Petar Bozic, Sonja Welzel, Giuseppina Orto, Katina Roloff, Uta Graff
Landscape design Büro M. Hagel
Client GSG Gewerbesiedlungsgesellschaft mbH, Berlin
Construction period 2002–2003
Gross area 5,000 m²
After the renovation and reconstruction of their historic production halls, the porcelain producing company "Königliche Porzellan Manufaktur" (Royal Porcelain Fabric) presents itself again at the Salzufer in Berlin. The former industrial zone is converted into a new urban district, with its centre being the KPM clay-washing building and the annular kiln hall presently used as an exhibition hall.
Both buildings are part of the factory premises, which were built by Gustav Möller from 1868–72 and almost complete destroyed during the Second World War.
A continuous design concept, which comprises architecture, exhibitions, lighting, and graphic appearance, unites the existing buildings (under a preservation order), the central courtyard and the path into the new district. A generous flight of stairs stretching across the complete front of the historic kiln hall emphasizes its super-ordinate significance as sales and exhibition building. Due to massive damage, the hall’s brick façade laid in silver-lock bond had to be newly constructed using original photographic documentation. After the removal of intermediate ceilings the focus of the interior are the kilns, which are accessible on their upper level via steel stairs and galleries. An accessible steel-glass-structure spans the passageway to the kilns. All newly added elements, which exceed the securing and structural strengthening of the existing building, were deliberately characterized by a modest design and are respecting the industrial history of the complex, with its ambience defined by steel, brick and rough plaster surfaces forming a strong contrast to the delicate, white porcelain.
The addition of one respectively two storeys to the clay-washing building corresponds to the existing rhythm, proportion and material. In detail the new elements are however clearly perceptible. In the interior the historic clay-washing basins were demolished, therefore allowing a flexible utilization.
Between the annular kiln hall and the clay-washing building illuminated glass showcases form the start and termination of the fair-faced concrete bands structuring the courtyard. Here, porcelain objects are presented, which illustrate the history of the location and its present use.
The equally restored entrance building dating from the 1950s forms the start of the KPM area. The new façade has a vertical division and forms a transition to the higher new adjoining buildings. Corresponding to the natural colouring of the other reconstructed buildings, defined by their materials brick, steel and concrete, the entrance building is characterized by the same high-quality and timeless aesthetic: The dark, metallically coated façade from aluminium conveys a noble retention and leads to the historic courtyard ensemble.