Im Rahmen des Solar Decathlon 2014 entstand dieser modulare Dachausbau in Berlin durch eine Zusammenarbeit der UdK Berlin und der TU Berlin.
Text by Team Rooftop:
“Developed and built entirely by students, we designed a house that perfectly integrates itself into its urban environment, offers attractive design aspects as well as innovative engineering solutions.
As an energy plus house, we enter a symbiotic relationship with the Altbau below us. There is an ever owing exchange of taking and giving: through the Altbau pipe system, the Rooftop Unit is provided with water and electricity on dark winter days, while reciprocally, we feed surplus energy into the smart grid during the summer.
Architecturally, the unique emblem of our house is the façade. On the long sides of the rectangular house, tall windows open up the house to the breathtaking skyline of Berlin. Each window is assigned to a moveable element with solar panels on the superior part of it. The façade de- nes the art of living in the Rooftop unit and allows great flexibility at all times: whether you wish to open it all the way and thus turn your house into a private bridge above the city‘s roofscape, or rather enclose yourself in a private cocoon.
The free floating concept is continued inside the house: the entire living space is designed around the Core Module. Being the heart of the house, the Core integrates all technical appliances, the kitchen and the bathroom while serving as a space defining anchor point – providing great adaptability by allowing the owner to design the free floating space around it.
Team Rooftop is the official ambassador of Technische Universität Berlin (Technical University) and Universität der Künste Berlin (University of the Arts) to the Solar Decathlon 2014. The project was initiated by students, is run by students, and will always be. What once seemed a crazy idea of a soon- to-be architect became something bigger than any of us ever dreamed of. A rare coincidence enabled this team to come together. Two radically different universities share one cam- pus, yet unfortunately not much more. The UdK and the TU live next door on Campus Charlottenburg, and students need to make use of that amazing opportunity and get together! Out of experience we believe that no technical element can sensibly function if one does not integrate visual, communicative, usability aspects into the development process. In turn, architecture that looks good on paper but cannot be realised, would need inefficient or inexistent systems is pipe-dream-architecture.
The city of Berlin has been undergoing massive changes throughout the last couple of years. Since the fall of the wall, large parts of the city have been rediscovered, destroyed buildings made hospitable again, and a dynamic crowd keeps on waking up sleepy Berliners with strange tongues and great ideas — despite the incapacity of the city government. As always, this is accompanied by unforeseen side-effects: the unique social equilibrium in the different neighbourhoods is being shattered. Berlin was a city of heterogeneous, mixed spheres, it is now becoming a more stratified, classical capital. Aggressive gentrification is a direct consequence to the magnetic attraction Berlin has on people from all over the world. Day by day, the remaining war wounds, so typical for this city, and green lungs of the city have to yield in order to satisfy the constantly increasing demand for high-quality urban living space.
Yet there still is a lot of unused living space in the very centre of the city: on top of the Berliner Altbau — Berlin’s typical turn-of-the-century apartment block. During the war, many buildings were destroyed and their tops were often only scantily reconstructed afterwards: the divided city focused on rebuilding quickly. Time went by, the roof trusses did not receive a lot of care and are now in bad constructive shape. Due to their very limited heat resistance they are also responsible for a big part of the energy loss of the buildings.
We want to use and revalue this prime living space: densifying and not displacing the people who lived in their neighbourhoods for years. The Schwarzplan above highlights roofs qualified for our concept. It only shows a sector of Berlin but you will find as many orange spots anywhere else in the city. We promise!
Berlin enjoys the biggest stock of pre-war buildings in Europe, yet their biggest attraction — age — makes them huge energy wasters, maintenance often being hampered by complicated ownership situations. Our concept is to create living space on top of the Altbau and to improve its overall energy balance — thus finding one solution to two pressing challenges. The Rooftop House replaces the makeshift inefficient roof truss and gives energy back to the building below.
However, the renovation of the Altbau cannot be a top-down process: it happens in cooperation with the house community. Instead of selling the Rooftop House the way many investment funds sell rare living space in the center of Berlin, we propose a crowd-investment solution. The owners of the Alt- bau invest to refurbish their rooftop and, optionally, to replace old electrical appliances, remediate windows and façade, and renew the heating system — depending on the particular Altbau situation. Thus the Rooftop House acts as a catalyst to galvanize a local movement encouraging and supporting the owners to bear responsibility for their homes.