Berlin film studio campus transformation wins top green award

A spectacular and sustainable site on the edge of Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport has won a major accolade for urban regeneration at this year’s MIPIM Awards, held in Cannes

A Berlin film studio campus regeneration project set in a new ecological landscape has been named ‘Best Urban Regeneration Project’ at this year’s MIPIM Awards, held on 16 March 2023 as part of the MIPIM real-estate market event in Cannes.

Designed by MVRDV alongside Studio Fabrix and Hirschmüller Schindele Architekten, Atelier Gardens is a transformation of the 23,800 sq metre campus of the Berliner Union Film Ateliers (BUFA). It was selected as winner of the award from a shortlist of four international projects.

Site for change-makers

Atelier Gardens is situated at the southern edge of Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport. The campus has been a key part of the city’s film and television industry since its first buildings were constructed more than a century ago. Now, BUFA is expanding its user base beyond filmmakers to encompass all forms of ‘change makers’, including organisations and individuals with a focus on activism and social justice – catalysed by a sustainable transformation of its physical spaces.

MVRDV’s design is said to preserve and enhance the spatial diversity of the existing campus – capitalising on the existing structures rather than demolishing and rebuilding – and refreshing the buildings while maximising the potential of the spaces in between.

Landscape design by Harris Bugg Studio included the removal of large areas of paving, eliminating vehicles, and adding water permeability and biodiversity with rooftop gardens and green plazas. Other sustainability measures are also incorporated, including eco-toilets, rainwater collection and water recycling, and improved natural ventilation.

Incremental approach

The masterplan adopts an incremental approach to the campus renewal, considering each building transformation as a response to previous ones. The first of these regeneration projects was completed last year and saw the reimagining of TON 1, a listed film studio that is almost 100 years old.

This studio was converted into a flexible event space by introducing an intricate overhead curtain rail, which, unlike in most film studios, where curtain rails are hidden, becomes a focal point of the space. The rail supports a variety of curtains in a range of bright colours, from raspberry to honey yellow, which can be used to divide the space.

Other members of the project team included Drees & Sommer (project manager), Buro Happold (M&E), Hati (water management), and KPM3 (contractor).

The MIPIM award criteria for best urban regeneration were: sustainability; integration of the project in its environment and community; quality of the user experience; economic contribution; originality of the concept; and architectural qualities.

Other award winners at MIPIM included Quarter Quay Tower in Sydney, Australia, for developer AMP Capital by architect 3XN (best office and business project) and Roots in the Sky, London, for developer Fabrix by architect Sheppard Robson (best new development).

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