Contemporary living: a loft conversion with a difference in Berlin
The industrial loft has a reputation as a bachelor-pad dream thanks to its generosity of space and historical charm. But with their renovation of this 240-square-metre former factory space in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, BATEK ARCHITEKTEN have shown that loft life can also suit a family of five as well. Known for its functional, consistently thought-through and future oriented spatial concepts, the Berlin-based architecture office proves once again with the conversion of this historical loft its sensitive approach to existing spaces and their character.
The aim was to provide sufficient privacy without detracting from the open, generous feeling of the space. The core of this conversion, therefore, is a set of wooden boxes that the architects have placed as house-in-house constructions within the loft. A key concern was to retain the qualities of the historic envelope, so that the experience of the size, height and character of the loft remained.
The apartment is divided into two zones: to one side of the entrance is a completely open space containing the kitchen island, dining and living areas. Generous windows add the impression of expansive openness. On the other side is the more private zone, which include a studio, bedrooms, bathrooms and dressing- or guest rooms. These are housed in individual custom-made boxes arranged along a diagonal hallway. The boxes only partially reach up to the loft’s very high ceiling, which not only leaves the massive beams and cast-iron supporting pillars visible, but also the spatial extent of the space.
It also provides a second level that the architects have designed in the form of a roofscape. Some of the box ceilings are sloped like house roofs, giving a village-like atmosphere. There is even a form of “roof terrace”: the area above the dressing room serves as a reading corner and guest area, accessible via a set of stairs and screened by louvres. The boxes also offer a lot of storage space, in the form of built-in cabinets and open shelving.
BATEK ARCHITEKTEN’s new room structure provides distance from the original building structure not only spatially but materially as well. The architects chose three layer solid wood panel, white stained spruce for the custom-built installations, complimented by polycarbonate sheet skylights and offwhite wall-tiles in the bathrooms. Individual wall surfaces and elements such as door frames, shelves and floor units have been accentuated in a warm pink tone. This same colour is also picked up in the large dining table by Berlin designer Moritz Bannach.
The custom fitted cupboards in the kitchen are also made of white-stained pine and the kitchen island is stainless steel. The surfaces of the original walls and ceiling were left as they were and simply painted white, so that the rough concrete and brick textures remain visible. Some remnants of the factory’s former use have been retained and the walls and floor remain unrenovated – a too-perfect finish would have spoiled the industrial charm of the space. This is exactly the reason lofts are so popular: they combine the authentic atmosphere and qualities of historical architecture with contemporary living in an open space – even for a family with three kids.
Material Used :
- Three-layered solid spruce panel, polycarbonate sheet, stainless steel, construction wood