The Youth Center, together with the Kindergarten, was awarded via a 1st place, collaborative competition entry to serve a new housing complex built in the far-East region of Berlin. The 12,000 ft2, heavy timber frame building has a north façade of unstained, tongue-in-groove larch siding and remaining façades of banded, colored lightweight concrete or glass panels. The building has a double-height circulation space that renders the entire second level corridor a balcony from which to experience the geometry of the folding roof. The south-facing portion of the building holds classrooms, a cafeteria, an art room with a kiln, and a multi-purpose room. The north side of the double-height corridor holds the administration offices and service rooms. The southern roof bands have a planted green roof of indigenous grasses; the northern bands have exposed wood beams under a standing-seam aluminum clad roof. The ground plane is cross-hatched into a matrix of children’s activity zones recalling both the glacier-etched landscapes of the Berlin basin and the markings of a war-torn and politically separated Berlin.
A number of decisions evolved from the Kindergarten’s construction: heavy timber construction gave faster delivery time and exposed concrete, waxed asphalt floors and stained OSB as final surfaces decreased construction time and provided a tough interior to express the sustainable elements of the overall project.