Germany has seen its fair share of Olympic heroes reach the podium, especially its sports-obsessed eastern half during the Cold War. Now, in a region of the former East Berlin, the unified city is building a mixed-use complex called “The:Square 3” that mimics the three-tiered medal stand right next to Sportforum Berlin, the country’s largest Olympic training facility.
To drive home the Olympics connection, subtle gold, silver and bronze tints will be added to the three main towers of the project. A common color for all parts of the project, however, will be green, with ample amounts of vegetation included in the common areas, on the roofs and even up the angled sides of the towers in some places.
Designed by developer Moritz Gruppe and architecture firm LAVA, the three towers of The:Square 3 will be joined by three other low-rise, diagonally shaped city blocks that will each contain wide central courtyards with lush greenery and green roofs.
The entire complex, expected to be completed by 2016, will include apartments, retail space, a kindergarten, social services, offices for sports companies, a medical research center, a hotel catering specifically for athletes and a shopping mall — all encircling a green piazza. In addition, the site will be near Europe’s largest urban nature reserve, with several scenic lakes and critical wildlife habitat.
The towers, Moritz Gruppe says, will be situated and tapered to maximize the amount of daylight and ventilation, helping to reduce energy costs. In some spots along the base of the towers, diagonal cuts in the outlines of the buildings will form triangular green walls full of cascading shrubs and other hanging plants. Solar energy will also be absorbed through photovoltaic cells embedded within its outer skin, and rainwater around the site will be collected and reused around the grounds.
Located about nine minutes from the bustling Alexanderplatz, the cultural heart of Berlin, The:Square 3 will be built in the Alt-Hohenschönhausen area, once infamous for being the site of a large prison complex run by the Stasi, the secret police force of East Germany. Today, the drab Soviet-style prefab apartments have been cleared away and the neighborhood is being revitalized, with The:Square 3 being a major part of the process.