Berlin: Martashof

Scheme: Martashof |¬†City: Berlin | Developer: Stofanel | Architects: Gr√ľntuch Ernst Architekten | Landscape architect: tbc

Resident feedback: ‘The shutters make lovely patterns when I close them. The street is very noisy though’.

csm_Gruentuch-Ernst-Grundriss_01_d860de6a2c This courtyard scheme of about 150 homes is not without controversy: it is part of the seemingly inevitable gentrification of East Berlin. The style of Martashof is also a bit international and corporate, fanning the flames of opposition fire, but is not without its charms. I have always found ‘green walls’ a little odd: whilst they dazzle, they somehow don’t fit with the patient and organic concept of landscapes which mature and evolve over time. Martashof dispenses with the immediate impact of a green wall, preferring to grow its own up walls, as well as wires and poles deliberately added to the elevations. The top floor residents will just have to wait!


PS: I also saw a growing (sorry) trend for pavement edge planting, either resident or city-led, in Brussels and at Spreefeld:

2 comments on Berlin: Martashof

  1. Thinking about what you’ve been saying about the need for properly planned green spaces as part of housing developments, I was wondering if you’ve seen any evidence of such spaces, where they do exist, being used by residents for food production? And if so, whether that is something’s that draws residents together into a community?

    1. Funny you should mention that: I have recently come across a lot of food growing in Vienna, and not some lame boxes with half-hearted attempts at the odd tomato: burgeoning, messy, colourful stuff which is clearly loved. I saw a father and son tending their chillies only yesterday and the little chap (probably about 4 years old) had to be dragged away from his ‘farm’! The ground plane of any relatievly high density estate needs to do a lot of work: parking, waste, bikes, leisure, play, planting – so food growing can sometimes feel like quite a luxury in an urban environment. Some people don’t like the fact that allotments can look straggly and unkempt for at least 6 months of the year also, so it can be better to find somewhere a bit more tucked away (like at my estate where a totally unpromising looking sliver of land behind some garages produces some of Camberwell’s finest fare!) As to evidence that it brings neighbours together, I have no hard data, but something tells me that that must be right. Housing Associations like allotments because it is essentially free grounds maintenance!

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