March 19, 2013

Memo From Berlin: New Builds

A large-scale dose of luxury is coming to one of Berlin’s major shopping districts in the form of office, restaurant, hotel and retail space Bikini Berlin and two major hotel projects. All are a short walk from Kurfürstendamm, a street rapidly becoming the Berlin version of Rodeo Drive.

Clocking in at around $133 million and scheduled for completion this year, Bikini Berlin is artist and designer Arne Quinze’s renovation of Paul Schwebes and Hans Schoszberger’s Bikinihaus. The unfortunate name comes from the original 1950s long, low retail and office building, which drew several women’s wear retailers and, due to an open porch in the middle floor, vaguely resembled a bikini.

Unveiled in December, the Das Stue Hotel is housed in Berlin’s former Danish embassy, now with an addition by Axthelm Architects. Just off of the leafy Tiergarten Park and within the grounds of the Berlin Zoo, the 80-room hotel has interiors by Patricia Urquiola that wink at the animals the zoo caters to, with unexpected touches including a sculpture of a crocodile’s head in the lobby and leather rhinos, hippos, and buffalos.

Open since January 3, the 31-story and 390-foot-high Waldorf Astoria Berlin is the latest in an international Waldorf Astoria hotel rollout that began in 2006. It includes 182 deluxe or superior rooms, 50 suites, spa and wellness areas, a restaurant run by Michelin-starred French chef Pierre Gagnair, and 22,000-square-feet of conference and meeting facilities.

Eyes are also on residential building Yoo Berlin, with an exclusive location on the River Spree and interiors by designer Philippe Starck packing a star-powered punch. The 10-story structure boasts two open-air atriums, 87 condominiums, a spa with swimming pool, and a private bar-café.

Other notable new builds include the J.Mayer H. Architects’ JOH building on Johannisstrasse in Mitte (completed in Spring 2012) and Daniel Libeskind’s 25,000-square-foot, one-story addition to the Jewish Museum Berlin, which follows his critically-acclaimed 2001 extension to the museum.

Recent Projects