Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
What is the Future of Berlin’s Urban Development?

March 29, 2017
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BERLIN – On March 29, CTBUH and CallisonRTKL, a design consultancy of Arcadis, organized a debate with government representatives, developers, investors, and industry analysts, to discuss the future of development in Berlin and the role of tall buildings in solving housing and workplace needs . The meeting was attended by approximately 60 guests.

Thorsten Schulte, head of Arcadis Berlin, welcomes attendees to the discussion.
After a short welcome by Thorsten Schulte, Head of Arcadis Berlin, the meeting began with a brief introduction of the topic by CTBUH Research Manager Dario Trabucco and CTBUH Germany Representative Roland Bechmann, Partner, Werner Sobek. Next, Edgar Kiviet, a Senior Associate Director at CallisonRTKL, presented on examples of international best practices for tall building designs and their connections to the city and surroundings. Kiviet focused on lessons that Berlin could learn from international projects. In the next speech, André Adami, head of BulwienGesa in Berlin, provided a very detailed analysis of the potential for high-rise development in Berlin. He examined how the Berlin real estate market has changed over the last few years, explaining that tall buildings have only become a viable and attractive investment due to the latest increase in rents. This topic was picked up from an architect’s perspective by Ramiro Forné, Associate Director at CallisonRTKL. He gave an overview on the past developments and the town planning ideas for high-rise buildings in the future.

Edgar Kiviet, Senior Associate Director, CallisonRTKL André Adami, Head of BulwienGesa Berlin
The presentations were followed by a panel discussion led by Bechmann. Panelists included Manfred Kühne, Head of Town Planning and Projects at the Senate Administration for City Development in Berlin; Martin Rodeck, Managing Director at OVG Real Estate; Erik Ritter, formally Development Manager at MonArch in Germany; and Forné. A large portion of the discussion addressed the different perspectives and needs of developers and the city administration. Kühne pointed out that the city has provided permissions for several high-rise developments at Alexanderplatz. In general, it was agreed that the Berlin, which has a high demand for future development, supports developers to realize their tall building projects. All participants agreed that it is only recently that high-rises became necessary and profitable in Berlin.

Panelists (left to right): Manfred Kühne, Head of Town Planning and Projects at the Senate Administration for City Development in Berlin; Martin Rodeck, Managing Director at OVG Real Estate; Erik Ritter, formally Development Manager at MonArch in Germany, Ramiro Forné, Associate Director at CallisonRTKL, and CTBUH Germany Representative Roland Bechmann, Partner, Werner Sobek.

Other outcomes and discussion points included the following:

  • Create urban conditions, relations, and context
    A healthy balance is needed between users, functions, infrastructure, available green space, and accessibility to fully benefit from the impact high-rise development can bring. Designers must move beyond the single-site approach and instead connect a development to its surrounding buildings, squares, communities, and public transportation networks.
  • Use the dynamics of transport
    Accessibility to a variety of transportation options is essential. This includes walking, biking, buses, metro and rail, and the car. However, providing these options is not enough; a holistic design is imperative. This means integrating infrastructure, engineering, place-making, and commercial activities to provide a seamless connection between home and work.
  • Understand the identity of the city and the place
    There is a need for a tall building vision in Berlin that balances the interests of multiple stakeholders and paints a picture of the future, while respecting the importance of the genius loci of Berlin.
  • Create mixed-use, publicly accessible, and human scaled developments
    Integration of functions is essential for successful developments. It is also important to realize that the right-balance needs to be found to optimize the building’s efficiency and to make a commercially viable case for development. However, for Berlin it seems best if the high-rise itself is single-use and public access is through the podium.
  • Changing demographics and needs in society require flexibility
    One-size-fits-all does not apply anymore – residential and workplace units need to be tailored to their audience, while flexibility is required to anticipate changing market demands.
Birgit Detig Arcadis
Timm Huber Arcadis
Jorg Lammersen Arcadis
Robin Nagel Arcadis
Thomas Portmann Arcadis
Thorsten Schulte Arcadis
Frank Walter Arcadis
Robert Vukas Art-Invest Real Estate Management
Lena Brühne Art-Invest Real Estate Management
Andre Adami BulwienGesa
Alexander Fieback BulwienGesa
Bettina Albani CESA Investment GmbH & Co. KG
Pauline Conradi CESA Investment GmbH & Co. KG
Wolf Uwe Rilke CESA Investment GmbH & Co. KG
Iris Schottmüller CESA Investment GmbH & Co. KG
Achaz von Oertzen CESA Investment GmbH & Co. KG
Floris Beemster City of Amsterdam
Nadir Guediri COPRO
Tin Ziegler COPRO Projektentwicklung GmbH
Paul Anstatt CRTKL
Ramiro Forne CRTKL
Edgar Kiviet CRTKL
Maren Striker CRTKL
Roland Bechmann CTBUH
Dario Trabucco CTBUH
Erik Ritter Fortis Home
Marcel Sedlák HB REAVIS Germany
Max Becker Hines
Tino Rübsam Hines
Christoph Ruppmann Hines
Kai Schulte Hines
Joachim Wintzer Hines
Oliver Heredia JAHN, MACK & PARTNER
Susanne Jakob KanAm Grund, Kapitalverwaltungsgesellschaft mbH
Slavis Poczebutas MEKADO
Davide Prioli MEKADO
Martin Rodeck OVG
Grit Schade Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Wohnen
Manfred Kuhne Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Wohnen
Jeremy Taylor Tishman Speyer
Mazen Touma Urban Space Immobilien Projektentwicklung GmbH