Latitude/Longitude: 52.5213, 13.3666
The new station housing the police and fire departments for the government district of Berlin is an extension to a now free-standing 19th-century structure, located on the edge of a former goods yard close to the river Spree. The single banked rear wing of the building serves as a backbone for the extension, which as a luminous “floating” body nestles against the lower part of the sheer brick wall. The space underneath the new building provides covered parking for the various vehicles of the police station and fire brigade, whilst the yard accommodates the necessary manoeuvres of the large fire engines.
As the building is set back considerably from the main road and lies approximately 6 m below street level, a new footbridge brings the visitor to the police station on the level of the bel etage. Placing the entrance to such a building through a first-floor window of its representative historical facade is both a pragmatic solution and a gesture appropriate to the surreal quality of its location.
The facade of the extension comprises large-scale glass shingles, celebrating the formal and material contrast between an existing Berlin building fragment and its new addition. The reds and greens used in the facade play not only with the heraldic colours of Germany’s fire brigades and police, but also with the colour contrast between the existing brick structure and the surrounding groups of mature trees.
⇒ Architecture Guide to BERLIN