Urban space regained: “Das Netz” in Berlin, NL Architects




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Urban space regained: “Das Netz” in Berlin, NL Architects
Landscaping not only to revitalise a place in the city but to make better, more sustainable use of spaces for the benefit of the communityA vacant area in Berlin’s Alt Köpenick district offered an opportunity to stitch up the wounds created by urban development in the 70s, when the discipline was strongly affected by West Berlin’s unusual position as an “island” in what was then East Germany.

NL Architects of the Netherlands saw this space left empty by chance as an opportunity to bridge the gap between the city centre and the lakeside promenade, making it more readily accessible. At the same time, the project they came up with in 2007 attempts to give the space a meaning that goes beyond its function of merely linking two points.

On the basis of these assumptions they came up with an urban sculpture called “Das Netz” (The Net). It is not so much a matter of connection as of sharing, as in social networks. For the structure is much more than just an artistic attraction, visually bringing the walls of the urban portion closer and creating a sort of portal for the lake, but is above all a usable suspended surface, something like a huge hammock.
When visitors climb up onto the structure it becomes a belvedere with views of the lake, which is made visible once again, restoring the ideal link which was the inspiration for the entire project.

Its dimensions give the project the role of a suspended public square, which the local community may use in a variety of different ways: as a playground for children and adults alike and a place for cultural events and celebrations.

This unusual landscaping project offers inspiration for reflection on the neighbourhood from within it, contributing new vitality through sustainable being.
Design: NL Architects - Pieter Bannenberg, Walter van Dijk, Kamiel Klaasse, www.nlarchitects.nl
Team: Sören Grünert and Sarah Möller
Structural engineers: Happold Ingenieursbüro
Photographs: Frank Hülsbömer, Courtesy of NL Architects
Links: Interview with Kamiel Klaasse of NL Architects www.floornature.com/architects/interviews/kamiel-klaasse-nl-architects-7703/


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