Seven years after winning the initial competition, the German design practice of Barkow Leibinger has received a building permit for the Estrel Tower in Berlin set to become the city’s tallest highrise.
At the height of 175 meters, the “Estrel Tower” in Berlin-Neukölln will be the highest high-rise in a city with no long tradition for high-rises.
The hotel tower will have more than 720 rooms with a four-stars plus standard, on a gross floor space of 75,000 square meters. A ballroom for events and a parking garage are also part of the two phase ensemble.
In 2015, Barkow Leibinger won a competition for the project. The design—despite the difference in building curvatures—references the existing Estrel hotel connects both into one unit.
The polygonal formal vocabulary like the child’s game “tangram” is used to unify building forms into a network of interconnected cells (in plan) that can be extruded to different heights.
The location of the Estrel ensemble is informed by its position at the transition between late nineteenth-century cultivation and the industrial periphery.
Both hotel buildings will frame a gate situation at the intersection of the inner and outer city—on the way from Berlin’s new airport BER to the city center.
On Sonnenallee, an inviting canopy marks the driveway and the access for guests to the hotel and conference area. The parking garage forms a strong buffer towards the highway, while an attractive open area with restaurants and cafes will be realized on the side towards the Neukölln ship canal.
The center of the new complex is the atrium with its triangular roof structure creating a play of light and shadow into this lobby, and allowing for spectacular views of the tower. The atrium is a hub and a central “distributor” in the spatial structure, but also an attractive meeting point where guests can linger. A gallery on the first floor above the atrium serves as a breakfast room in the mornings; and in the evenings, it can be used for private dinners or smaller receptions. The ballroom can be used and furnished for a wide range of formats, from conferences to gala dinners.
The hotel tower itself has 44 floors and is organized on a parallelogram floor plan around a compact service core. On the ground floor are, in addition to the reception, a waiting area for guests and the back-office zone. The tower’s second floor connects every morning with the atrium’s gallery into a breakfast area for up to 850 guests. The hotel’s third floor is dedicated to the spa and fitness area. The fourth floor is reserved for hotel staff; offices and conferences room are located there. The regular hotel rooms, which as a rule have 18 sqm, begin on the fifth floor.
All hallways have natural light, which contributes to a pleasant atmosphere and good orientation.
The forty-first floor is reserved exclusively to junior suites and suites with up to 100 sqm.
The check-in for this luxurious part of the hotel—separate from that of the other guests— is on the forty-second floor.
One corner is taken up by the bar, which also integrates part of the forty-third floor through air space. This floor also features meeting and dining rooms and a kitchen to service all upper areas. The building’s literal highpoint is the restaurant and the sky bar with a roof terrace on the forty fourth floor and their spectacular views of Berlin.
The building has an elemental facade with aluminum fins fronting it that serve not just as sun protection, but also define strong dynamic diagonals within the orthogonal basic grid. This characteristic can be perceived both from the rooms as well as in the views of the building, both from near and afar.
Architects: Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH
Design Team: Frank Barkow, Regine Leibinger, Lukas Weder, Andreas Hertel, Carolin Lehnerer, Sebastian Awick, Mwanzaa Brown, Stefano Caielli, Jan Conradi, Ulrich Fuchs, Konstantin Greune, Cynthia Grieshofer, Sven Hecht, Matthias Hiby, Mara Sophia Kanthak, Lena Krämer, Zuzanna Makaruk, Reidar Mester, Andreas Moling, Janakan Selvaratnam, Gerrit Vetter, Daniela Voigt, and Annette Wagner
Client: Estrel Tower Besitz GmbH & Co. KG
Landscape Architects: PST GmbH