Warschauer Tor, 2008–2009
Architectural research at Fachhochschule Potsdam
Warschauer Tor is a gate to Berlin. Elevated above an expanse of railroad tracks, it connects to Warschauer Straße, a street that here bridges two distinct parts of Friedrichshain, a former district of East Berlin. The nearby S+U‑Bahnhof (train station) serves both local and regional transportation and hosts an array of public activity around the clock. The immediate surroundings of the site presently include a collection of abandoned and repurposed industrial buildings, a few nightclubs, and the newly completed O2 arena, which draws a considerable amount of visitors to the vicinity. An intensive urban plan for the area surrounding Warschauer Tor projects dense development and a redesigned train station.
Warschauer Tor is a figural and cultural gate to Berlin. In its greater context, the building is an inviting threshold between the active and newly redeveloped Mitte (downtown) and the neglected and less developed eastern districts. The name references its eastern location within the city, suggesting that the path through the gate may lead to Warschau (Warsaw). Hallways are located on every other floor, and hotel rooms span one to two stories, allowing for transparency through the building and views in both directions from within.
Warschauer Tor offers its guests and visitors the opportunity to ground themselves in the city by engaging in positive social interaction. A diverse arrangement of hotel rooms accommodates a multitude of guests. Room types vary based on the number of guests in a unit and their particular space requirements and are intermixed throughout the building. Newcomers and community members alike utilize common spaces (bar, lounge, restaurant, computer lab, seminar rooms) in the “sky lobby” which spans the four towers. Rooms are available on a weekly basis in order to attract migrants rather than visitors, and the maisonette room section foreshadows a more permanent residence.