Tall & Urban News

New Academy Building in Berlin with a Hybrid-Timber Structure is Awarded to Design Firm

Image courtesy Henn
Image courtesy Henn
08 July 2024 | Berlin, Germany

In a tendering process (VgV-Verfahren), HENN has won the contract for the new campus of the Berlin Fire Department and Rescue Services Academy. Set on the site of the former Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) the campus will be used for training and continuing professional development of firefighters, rescue, and emergency medical staff. A new academy building with a hybrid-timber structure and outdoor training facilities will be constructed, alongside renovating two airplane hangars and other existing buildings.

The new academy building is designed to function as the institution’s communication center and bring together instructors and trainees. Its height and the restrained, deliberately “technical” appearance of the façade allow it to blend harmoniously into its surroundings and to mediate between old and new. At the heart of this new building is a centrally located, light-filled atrium that interlinks all floors, establishes sightlines, and promotes synergies within the building. It serves as a place for knowledge sharing and informal encounters. The spacious lobby provides trainees and instructors with access to a canteen with an outdoor terrace, a dining hall, and a café. The integrated auditorium will also be used for larger events. The upper stories accommodate offices and training rooms with layouts that allow for flexible uses. The academy building’s proposed hybrid-timber structure will remain visible inside, and the design is further emphasized by a fire-engine red staircase in the atrium.

Built as a low-tech structure, the design integrates simple, long-lasting components for reducing needed building services while also increasing its efficiency. Placed on the east and west façades and the rooftop, photovoltaic panels will assist in generating electricity for the building.

Besides the academy building, new structures will be built to accommodate sports and training facilities as well as vehicle depots. In addition, HENN will renovate the listed buildings located on-site, including two hangars dating back to the 1960s and 1970s whose impressively large, clear-span halls provide space for replicating operational scenarios that can be used regardless of weather conditions.

The new Berlin Fire Department and Rescue Services Academy campus will support a state-of-the-art, efficient Berlin firefighting service while strengthening its crucial role within the city. As part of transforming the derelict airport site into a place of innovation, referred to as the Urban Tech Republic, it will become a venue with a distinct sense of identity and give the firefighting and rescue services a new public presence in the city.


Learn more at HENN.