Instructors - Maria Aiolova ( Director Terreform-One), Lukas Kronawitter (Terreform-One), Dr. Michael LaFond (id22 Institute for Creative Sustainability), Dr. Matthias Ballestrem (Technical University Berlin), Dr. Andreas Ludwig

Team - Lauren Andrus, Omer Cohen, Nina Comiskey, Alison Evershed, Hlee Heur, Carly Lisnow, Anthony Polidoro, Dan Sztanga

Location - Berlin, Germany

Spring 2014


We are a team of nine architecture and design students given the task of creating a more sustainable future city.  Our project foresees a future where energy and resource shortages give rise to buildings that are increasingly robust.  With this overall master plan for Berlin’s future, we propose a design project that can influence the Future of the City.

Fast Forward 100 years: imagine a place that responds to the unpredictable climatic and social forces, creating a building typology that breathes, adapts, grows, ages, and lives with us while acknowledging the urban developments that have taken place in the city of Berlin as a result of major world events, shaping its history for ever.

 Berlin, a city with a tumultuous past, becomes the birthplace of our future city.  Berlin is the center for creativity and innovation - a place which promotes public participation to foster a vibrant and diverse community, both socially and ecologically.  Very few cities in the world exhibit these traits, making Berlin a unique experiment for the future city.

Our site, a formal industrial area along the River Spree, is part of the fractured urban landscape of Berlin.  Like many of the surrounding areas, the site contains pieces of the past, from vacancies left over from the time of the Berlin Wall to informal settlements inhabiting the rivers edge.  The goal is to acknowledge these as a part of the previous typology while designing for the future.

Using these pieces from the past, we propose a typology that uses the city’s history to determine a more sustainable and accessible future.  We propose creating a typology of public accessibility, ecological vibrants and new technologies for reinventing the way cities breathe today to create a plan which can be replicated across the globe.

 The particular part of the project I was involved in was the Permaculture center.  The urban growing tower is envisioned to be a mixed use tower, containing a mix of living and indoor growing space to create a 12 month life cycle component for the project.  The tower will provide self-sustainable food for the future city.    

The tower is shaped to maximize sun exposure for the growing sections of the tower.  As the structure rises, the support system twists gently ‘tracking’ the suns movement.  The facade is designed to be robust, with a parametric screen system responding to the types of spaces behind them, shielded for living and open for growing.

The urban growing center is designed to plug into the overall master plan, becoming the future city’s resilient food platform while providing a green infrastructure for living and working.  The tower connects to the river Spree, allowing for sustainable transportation of food resources by plug in, electric boats connected to a micro smart grid in the future.

Building Density Pre 1945 (Left),  Post 1945 (Right)

Berlin 2014

Existing Regional Rail Hubs

Proposed Master Plan

The Urban Growing Tower

Infrastructural Systems