Answering to the explicit and beautiful statement of the desires of Axel Springer, our proposal is a construction that shelters, by distributing in space, the activities which will nurture Axel Springer´s image throughout time: editing “islands“. A constantly and eternally unfinished discourse, with the intention of being the Matrix of “All existing Axel Springer”, constructing “consciousness and language”, using today’s state of the art resources of communication.

The concept-engineering of the proposed spaces is based in two slender parallel concrete buildings, each a 100 meters in extension along Schutzensstrasse and Zimmerstrasse, distanced 50 meters from each other, creating in plan, a rectangular void of 6500 square meters along the trapezoidal site given for the project. These two parallel buildings then, become the support to a volumetric expansion structured by a transversal vierendeel truss system. As a result, column-free spaces achieve the 40.000 square meters estimated to house the intended three thousand five hundred users.

The idea is to attain a great prismatic space enclosed by a double-skin transparent crystal glazing along AxelSpringerstrasse and Jerusalemerstrasse, modulated with the random formation and appearance of fog, enhancing sunlight effects. Two sets of four vierendeel transversal trusses stand 6 meters high clearing the 50 m span, creating then three precints extending in space 1500 square meter each.

Raised floor and dropped ceiling are proposed in all areas for MEP installations, coming from the parallel buildings, which will also house all vertical-circulation traffic: elevators system, stairs, sanitary and kitchen services; also the machinery for the production of the façade fog-system. This vertical circulation connects from both sides the full 5000 square meter slabs. The central area is a great ‘void of light‘, also fog system-controlled for zenithal sunlight radiation.

Berlin’s street-level corresponds to the building’s ground level and will remain as open as possible to the public; in various intriguing ways as the drawings suggest. The idea is to create an open square, however, artificially conditioned, inexorable contradiction in this case. The open public square gathers and receives: conceived for meetings, conferences, worldwide seminars and reunions; there is also coffee and a public restaurant looking into the interior spaces of the building.

The visual relationships between the building and the city happen in two different opposite ways. Both the most transparent and the most solid present a strong connection with the urban context. A large hall, Facing AxelSpringerstrasse, will be dedicated to the daily news, an image and sound spectacle: a place to see the world in real-time. This workspace created artificially as it is, is the new place to cultivate future projects, towards unpredictability of life.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha

technical information

Client: Axel Springer
Project date: agosto de 2013
Built area: 59.229,00m²
Architectural project: Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Metro Arquitetos Associados [Gustavo Cedroni, Martin Corullon, Sol Camacho];
Collaborators: Miki Itabashi, Helena Cavalheiro, Isabel Vincke, Marcio Tanaka;
Structure: AFA Consult: Engs. Rui Furtado e Pedro Pereira.