22. January 2016
One of the four new staircases that OMA will insert into the KaDeWe (Images: OMA)
Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture have unveiled their redesign of Berlin's historic Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe), which makes the large department store comprehensible by breaking it into four quadrants, each with its own atrium.
The luxury that surrounded the Berlin KaDeWe when it was built in 1907 is but a memory. Now, the need for remediation of the floors is necessary, the complex spatial organization is no longer appropriate, and the internal systems are in need of renovation. So this week it was reported that OMA is will completely overhaul of the building, the biggest department store in continental Europe. Rem Koolhaas, co-author of the Harvard Guide to Shopping from 2000, and fellow OMA partner Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli are rethinking the store, not just restoring it: they are dividing the building into four quadrants with smaller floor plates and distinct circulation cores that will improve orientation. The rooftop restaurant is to be replaced by a new glass volume accessed from the street by two elevators, with the voyage to the top culminating in panoramic views of Berlin.
The approximately 400-million-euro project is expected to take eight years to complete, with the store remaining open during the renovation.
The reorganization of the building into four parts
The restaurant in the glass cage
The building will lose its rooftop restaurant in favor of a new glass volume.
A version of this story originally appeared as "Neuer Glanz in alter Hütte" on German-Architects.