»Tradition is a dare for innovation.«

Alvaro Siza

Blog BUILDING OF THE WEEK

WERKHAUS

Living and working in the Uckermark

  • Photo: Thomas Heimann 1 / 15  Photo: Thomas Heimann
  • Photo: Thomas Heimann 2 / 15  Photo: Thomas Heimann
  • Photo: Thomas Heimann 3 / 15  Photo: Thomas Heimann
  • Photo: Thomas Heimann 4 / 15  Photo: Thomas Heimann
  • Photo: Thomas Heimann 5 / 15  Photo: Thomas Heimann
  • Photo: Thomas Heimann 6 / 15  Photo: Thomas Heimann
  • Photo: Thomas Heimann 7 / 15  Photo: Thomas Heimann
  • Photo: Thomas Heimann 8 / 15  Photo: Thomas Heimann
  • Photo: Thomas Heimann 9 / 15  Photo: Thomas Heimann
  • Photo: Thomas Heimann 10 / 15  Photo: Thomas Heimann
  • Image: Thomas Kröger 11 / 15  Image: Thomas Kröger
  • Image: Thomas Kröger 12 / 15  Image: Thomas Kröger
  • Photo: Thomas Kröger 13 / 15  Photo: Thomas Kröger
  • The house in the Uckermark, northeast of Berlin used to be an LPG (Landwirtschaftliche Produktionsgenossenschaft) building... (Photo: Thomas Kröger) 14 / 15  The house in the Uckermark, northeast of Berlin used to be an LPG (Landwirtschaftliche Produktionsgenossenschaft) building... (Photo: Thomas Kröger)
  • ...a “rather poor construction from 1987, originally built as a metal workshop and staff facilities for the local agricultural cooperative”. (Photo: Thomas Kröger) 15 / 15  ...a “rather poor construction from 1987, originally built as a metal workshop and staff facilities for the local agricultural cooperative”. (Photo: Thomas Kröger)

The Brandenburg countryside surrounding Berlin is full of empty buildings and real estate renovation potential. Architect Thomas Kröger refunctioned a former GDR agricultural cooperative building into a workshop and house for a carpenter and product designer. Sophie Lovell reports on a werkhaus to feel very much at home in.   

This house in the Uckermark, northeast of Berlin used to be an LPG (Landwirtschaftliche Produktionsgenossenschaft) building, a “rather poor construction from 1987, originally built as a metal workshop and staff facilities for the local agricultural cooperative”, says Kröger. Being a carpenter, the client Gerhard Schütze was very much involved in the construction. He built most of the interior finishes designed by the architects as well as the wooden frame of the main showroom.

“The hybrid character of working and living is rooted in the traditional building typology of the Uckermark”, adds Kröger, “the typical local Siedlerhäuser are long stretched out buildings perpendicular to the street, with living spaces towards the front and working spaces and barns further back under the same roof.”

Brandenburg winters can be very cold (temperatures of minus 20 degrees celsius are not uncommon), so much attention was paid to the insulation. The original uninsulated(!) brick walls of the LPG building were covered with 16cm insulation below the rear ventilated metal facade, and the new roof acquired 20 cm of extra padding. Heat is supplied by a woodchip boiler fuelled with waste from the carpentry workshop.

The most prominent feature of the conversion is the new skin covering both facade and roof. The newly constructed central section defines the building’s new shape. The green corrugated metal skin is bent/cambered at the eaves with a 60 cm radius, “allowing façade and roof to become one and to let the house sit softly within the landscape”. The metal sheets are perforated in front of the windows, allowing sunlight into the interior and views to the gently undulating glaciated landscape beyond without interrupting the skin and shape of the building.

Despite, or perhaps because of, its functional character, this building has a luxurious aspect that comes from an intelligent distillation of the needs and pleasures of living. Details such as the fireplace, veranda and kitchen furniture, all made with simple, contrasting raw and finely-finished materials, together with an entirely satisfying inside/outside ratio, all combine to fulfil those needs but without any decorative excess. It is the subtle wealth of the landscape that is celebrated here alongside the honest skills of the craftsman and a life spent at one with one’s work.

 – Sophie Lovell

After stints with Norman Foster and Max Dudler respectively, architect Thomas Kröger founded his own Berlin practice in 2001.

www.thomaskroeger.net

  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter

Advertisement

RECENT POSTS

more

Recent Magazines

25 Apr 2016

Magazine No. 43
Athens

  • essay

    From the Bottom and the Top

    Powering Athens through collectivity and informal initiatives by Cristina Ampatzidou

  • photo essay

    Nowhere Now Here

    A photo essay by Yiorgis Yerolymbos

  • Essay

    Back to the Garden

    Athens and opportunities for new urban strategies by Aristide Antonas

  • Interview

    Point Supreme

    An interview by Ellie Stathaki

>

03 Mar 2016

Magazine No. 42
Walk the Line

  • Essay

    The Line Connects

    An essay on drawing and architectural education by Wes Jones

  • Essay

    Drawing Attention

    Phineas Harper sketches out new narrative paths with pencil power

  • Essay

    Gotham

    Elvia Wilk on a city of shadows as architectural fiction

  • Interview

    The (Not So) Fine Line

    A conversation thread between Sophie Lovell and architecture cartoonist Klaus

>

28 Jan 2016

Magazine No. 41
Zvi Hecker

  • essay

    Space Packers

    Zvi Hecker’s career-defining partnership with Eldar Sharon and Alfred Neumann by Rafi Segal

  • Interview

    Essentially I am a Medieval Architect

    An interview with Zvi Hecker by Vladimir Belogolovsky

  • viewpoint

    The Technion Affair

    Breaking and entering in the name of architectural integrity by Zvi Hecker

  • Photo Essay

    Revisiting Yesterday’s Future

    A photo essay by Gili Merin

>

17 Dec 2015

Magazine No. 40
Iceland

  • Viewpoint

    Wish You Were Here

    Arna Mathiesen asks: Refinancing Iceland with tourism – but at what cost?

  • Photo Essay

    Spaces Create Bodies, Bodies Create Space

    An essay by Ólafur Elíasson

  • Focus

    Icelandic Domestic

    Focus on post-independence houses by George Kafka

  • Essay

    The Harp That Sang

    The saga of Reykjavík's Concert Hall by Sophie Lovell & Fiona Shipwright

>

more

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST Close

Uncube is brandnew and wants to look good.
For best performance please update your browser.
Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer 10 (or higher), Safari, Chrome, Opera

×