The development of modern architecture at WATERKANT Berlin

High-quality architecture with a modern space utilisation concept and sustainable energy supply: WATERKANT Berlin is a lighthouse project in which many creative minds are involved. These include the Berlin architects Eike Becker_Architekten, who developed the concept for the first subproject.

Photo of Eike Becker

Good coexistence and sustainable urban development

Eike Becker answered some questions about the new neighbourhood on the Havel in Berlin Spandau.

Photo copyright: Adrian Jankowski

What do you think is special about the new WATERKANT residential district in Spandau?

Neighbourhood development is urban planning on a small scale. Everything that is important for the development of a city must also be taken into account here. In order for a neighbourhood to do justice to the entire diversity of today’s society, different age and interest groups must be able to relate to it. In addition, all levels must be interlinked. In an orderly, but not too orderly fashion. This is the formula that makes neighbourhoods worth living in – and makes our society that little bit better.

What was important to you during implementation?

The question of social utopia. The question of the way we want to live together today and in the future. The focus is on social responsibility and social coexistence. But questions of ecology and mobility are also becoming more important. Quarters such as WATERKANT Berlin are ideal for implementing innovative solutions. For example, better energy and mobility concepts, but also new forms of participation and social interaction.

How was the process from the original idea to the final result of the construction project on the Havel?

The first step was a detailed location analysis with our partners Dahm Architekten and Convis. From this, in close cooperation with Gewobag, a utilisation, mobility, sustainability and realisation concept was derived, which is now being implemented in close coordination with all social groups. After all, neighbourhood development is not just the job of architects and urban planners. It must be understood as a joint task with open participation structures that answers the following questions: How can a vibrant neighbourhood be created? How can as many residents as possible benefit from the waterfront location? How sustainable can the neighbourhood become? Which mobility concepts can be implemented? How can we create a better quality of life for everyone? The trick is to use this abundance of opinions and possibilities to implement the best solution for as many people as possible.

What role models did you follow?

Anyone involved in social housing construction will soon encounter the exemplary social housing estates of the 1920s: Onkel Tom’s Hütte, the Hufeisensiedlung or the Carl Legien residential town are outstanding examples of building for a better world. We want to translate the approaches of the past into the here and now and tomorrow. By redefining them with the knowledge that we possess today. Because today we know so much more about good coexistence, functioning neighbourhoods and sustainable urban development. If we use this knowledge responsibly, the new quarter on the Oberhavel can succeed extremely well.