O12 - Artist House is a home and studio designed by Philipp von Matt Architects for a prominent French artist in Berlin’s lively, historic, trendy and central Mitte neighbourhood, home to the Brandenburg Gate and Museum Island.
The fruitful ongoing exchange between the architect and the artist was very important in the creation of a sculptural work in which art and architecture constantly interact, offering a solution balancing spaces for work and for private life. This theme has powerfully emerged in the public eye in a number of fields of work since the lockdown imposed to halt the spread of Covid-19.
From the outside, the home and studio designed by architect Philipp von Matt presents windows apparently arbitrarily arranged on the façade, suggesting spaces of different sizes and heights on the inside. The ground floor is public, containing a gallery and exhibition space; as we enter our attention is immediately drawn to a majestic sculptural staircase made of bare concrete, a tribute to the drawings of Piranesi. The lighting from above that strikes the entire staircase structure gives the concrete the look of timeless stone and encourages the observer to look up, offering an invitation to continue upwards. The spaces in the home are arranged along the staircase, alternating larger and smaller rooms; the first floor contains the living area, including the kitchen and living/dining room, with a big fireplace evoking the forms of the Pyramid of Cestius in Rome or the tomb of Antonio Canova in the Basilica dei Frari in Venice. The two bedrooms occupy the entire second floor, accessed via two separate stairways from the lower level. The main staircase continues up to the top floor, where the house culminates in the artist’s studio. A big rooftop skylight illuminates the entire studio, giving the observer the sensation of being outdoors, in contact with the sky.
Light plays a key role in all the spaces in the home, and the architect amplifies its effects or restores a sense of intimacy using a well-calibrated combination of different materials and colours.
In this way, for example, the spaces used for producing and exhibiting art feature delicate neutral hues, so that the architecture creates the ideal uncontaminated backdrop against which the art can emerge as the key to the space, while in the private living areas the architect uses light, materials and colours to create a cosy, intimate atmosphere.
Project name: O12 – Artist House in Berlin
Location: Mitte, Berlin (Germany)
Architect: Philipp von Matt http://phvm.com/
Project team: Philipp von Matt, Stefano Tiracchia,
Completion: January 2020
GFA: 670 sqm
Contractor Shell & Core: TBN Terminbau Niesky GmbH, Niesky
Structural Engineering: Marko Ludwig, 2B Planungsgesellschaft
Acoustic Engineering: Peter Schoch, 2B Planungsgesellschaft
Technical building installations: Ralf Ihlefeldt, PKB Ingenieurgesellschaft
Fire Safety Concept: ABIT Ingenieure
Building shell: TBN Terminbau Niesky GmbH, Niesky
Windows: Fritz Glock GmbH, Hermsdorf
Dry walls and doors: Piechotta Trockenbau GmbH, Berlin
Plasterwork: KAB Bau GmbH, Berlin
Tiles work: Uwe Matussek, Berlin
Exposed concrete screed: BFT GmbH, Berlin
Parquet layer: Ralf Bossier GmbH, Berlin
Fitter: LIBOH GmbH, Berlin
Carpenter: Zweibaum Holzwerkstatt GmbH, Berlin
Photography: courtesy of Philipp von Matt