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In planning


Prototype for circular building: LXSY Architekten and asp Architekten realise a new building within planetary bounds on Berlin's Karl-Marx-Allee.

More than 60 years after its initial construction, the listed Karl-Marx-Allee is to be completed. The prestigious socialist project, which connects the two Berlin districts of Friedrichshain and Mitte, is considered a unique urban planning testimony to post-war modernism.  Its appearance is characterised by a combination of socialist modernism and Soviet architecture from the Stalinist era. The Kino International, the Café Moskau and the Salon Babette are among the most prominent buildings constructed in the 1960s on the 2.4-kilometre-long and 100-metre-wide avenue. Seeing as only six of the eleven initially planned "pavilions" were built, the urban ensemble is now to be further developed, taking into account its distinctive quality and changing needs. A workshop procedure had already taken place in 2019, in which three offices developed a preliminary plan. Three years later, a VgV procedure was initiated for the design of the so-called “Sonderbau”, which the LXSY Architekten and asp Architekten team won.

Urban Context

The building will be realised directly next to the Kino International and opposite the Café Moskau and aims to integrate itself into this structural context, with reference to socialist modernism. The task: to design a multifunctional new building within planetary bounds. On the aesthetic level, this means taking up important design elements of the existing buildings and interpreting them in such a way that they do justice to present and future uses. On the level of construction and materiality, this means a circular construction method that embodies ecological, economic and social sustainability.

The building's user is the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, whose headquarters are located in the government district. In order to create a low-threshold accessibility, the new building shall distinguish itself by an open, transparent lab character that invites people to engage with the political and social issues that are debated there. An agile, democratic space that programmatically expands the existing buildings with exhibitions and events around the themes of art and culture, but also offers space for new work.

Spatial programme

The urban design shape, which emerged from the workshop procedure and serves as a basis, is divided into two building parts: a main body and an appendix that can also be rented out. While the appendix is intended for smaller events, workshops and gatherings of the Heinrich Böll Fellows, the main building incorporates event spaces, the Böll Lab and working environments. The welcome area is situated on the ground floor, where art and cultural events shall take place. In addition to a catering area, there is an event space for 200 to 300 people, the Böll-Lab and a training room. A hybrid space for knowledge sharing and production that correlates with the openness of the building and offers a high degree of cooperation, exchange and flexibility. A predominantly open working environment is planned for the upper floor. The programmatic diversity is expressed in team spaces, concentration and relaxing spaces, collaboration spaces, communication niches, workshop rooms as well as fixed and flexible workplaces. The pavilion has an effective area of approximately 3000 square meters.

Both parts of the building are designed with two-storeys and continuously reference the existing GDR modernist buildings through design elements. For example, a large gallery that mediates between the two levels in both buildings and underlines the effect of the open and communicative character. Its function, as the heart of the site, is expressed above all in the main building: a lively staircase intends to invite people to take a seat, read or exchange ideas and can be used as a stand during events.

House within planetary bounds

As a modern counterpart to the massive, monumental existing structures along Karl-Marx-Allee, the new building is to be characterised by future-oriented architecture that challenges conventional standards in terms of construction, materiality and technology. The planners consider the entire life cycle of the building and combine different approaches in order to build as simply, resource-efficiently and circularly as possible. The low-tech approach intends to create climate-adapted architecture and reduce the amount of technology used as much as possible. A building simulation will enable a climate-adapted building configuration. The large event hall, for example, is to be located in the north and closed rooms in the core of the building.

In line with circular construction, only materials and components that are already in circulation shall be used. In addition to reusing elements and utilising recycled materials, special emphasis is placed on local, renewable raw materials. Composite materials as well as a wood-concrete composite ceiling will be avoided. Instead, a clear timber construction will align with the principle of design for disassembly. Both the façade and the floor plans are modular. The grid system offers a lot of flexibility and the possibility to reuse and deconstruct the building at a later point in time. The roof is designed as a retention roof with intensified extensive greening to promote biodiversity and is equipped with a PV system.


In 2015, parts of Karl-Marx-Allee were designated as a funding area in the federal and state funding programme “Lebendige Zentren und Quartiere” which translates to "Lively Centres and Neighbourhoods". For several years, the urban development programme has focused on the adaptation, revitalisation, strengthening and preservation of neighbourhoods. The development of the special building by LXSY Architekten and asp Architekten is now also taking place within this framework. The property is owned by the Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Berlin-Mitte (WBM) and Berliner Immobilienmanagement GmbH (BIM), and will be used by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung.

The new pavilion on Karl-Marx-Allee is a pilot project in that it exemplifies how circular building can be promoted by both the planning perspective on the one hand and a foundation with a public funder in the background on the other.










CategoryIn planning


LocationDE – Berlin

Sustainability Committee Prof. Eike Roswag-Klinge, Dipl.-Ing. Architekt BDA, TU Berlin | Prof. Elisabeth Endres, TU Braunschweig