Atelier Gardens is a master plan designed to redevelop the 110-year-old Berlin Union Film Ateliers (BUFA) film studio located in Berlin, Germany, into a unified film and media campus. Fabrix, a property investor and developer based in the UK, is developing the project.
Planning approval for the redevelopment of two buildings on the BUFA campus, including TON 1 (Studio 1) and House 1 (Haus 1), was received in November 2021. The first milestone in the project, the transformation of the TON 1 building, was completed in September 2022. Renovation of the second building is expected to be completed in November 2023.
In March 2023, the Atelier Gardens project was awarded the MIPIM Award for Best Urban Regeneration project based on sustainability, environmental and community integration, user experience, economic impact, conceptual uniqueness and architecture.
Atelier Gardens project details
BUFA is a dense campus covering an area of 23,800m² (256,181ft² ) and comprising five filming studios, 11 houses and ancillary facilities. It is located on the southern edge of Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport and has been a key part of Berlin’s film and television industry for more than a century. The campus features wide alleys and open plazas defined by large, charismatic brick buildings.
The Atelier Gardens project will incrementally redevelop and renovate the buildings and ancillary facilities of the BUFA campus to extend their life and preserve their heritage.
The first development included the renovation of the listed film studio, TON 1, into a highly adaptable event venue. The next development includes the refurbishment of House 1, situated at the main entrance to the campus.
TON 1 building renovation details
TON 1 is a listed building and requires a design that optimises the building space for a range of applications without significantly altering the existing characteristics of the building. The design focused on extending the lifespan of the building and incorporating sustainable features.
The building’s renovation added an elaborate overhead filigree curtain rail that is used to hang acoustic or translucent curtains of different hues that divide the room, creating an open space that can be used for various events and workshops.
The new additions are in stark contrast to the existing building and are designed to be flexible rather than rigid, and in colour rather than black.
The exposed brick walls of the building were retained and a skylight and lighting system were installed above the curtain rail into the roof to enable its use for a variety of purposes. New interior finishes and a new and efficient ventilation system were also installed.
House 1 building renovation details
House 1 was constructed in 1997 and will undergo a more drastic renovation. The existing building has a poor indoor climate and suffers from overheating during the summer.
The building will be made more efficient by using a green wrap made of wood and climbing plants, which will deliver maximum impact and use minimal material. The green wrap frame extends above the roof line to create a covered garden and roof pavilion that can be accessed from either the building’s main entrance or a zigzag staircase leading directly to the roof.
The building’s interior space will feature flexible offices, a coffee shop and meeting areas.
The BUFA campus renovation will include the creation of an eco-friendly landscape. The existing paving will be removed and roof gardens and green plazas will be created to add water permeability and biodiversity to the campus.
The campus will also be installed with eco-friendly toilets, rainwater and water recycling systems, and better natural ventilation.
Re-use of steel recovered from the demolition of two obsolete warehouses on the campus to build a new entrance pavilion is also being considered.
MVRDV, an architecture studio based in the Netherlands, was appointed by Fabrix to develop the masterplan, and renovate the buildings within the Atelier Gardens masterplan.
HS Architekten, an architecture firm, is the co-architect for the project, while Harris Bugg Studio, a landscape design practice based in the UK, is responsible for the landscape design.
Contractors involved in the TON 1 building renovation include B+G Ingenieure Bollinger und Grohmann (structural engineers), MMT Network (AV Planning) and MKT Engineering (curtain rail manufacturers).
ESE-Project (electrical engineering), Brichta (blackout screen), Velux (skylight) and Klungkung (carpentry) are also involved in the TON 1 renovation.
Contractors involved in House 1 renovation include Drees & Sommer (structural and facade engineering/project coordination), Buro Happold (mechanical and electrical planning) and Ingenieurbüro Axel C Rahn (building physics).
MKP (ground surveyor), Metallbau Weinmann (metal construction), and Zimmerei & Dachdeckerei Quappe (carpentry and roofing) are also involved in the project.
HATI (water management), Deltalight (lighting advisor) and Brandschutz plus+ Eberl-Pacan Brandschutzplaner (fire protection) are involved in the renovation of the two buildings.
KPM3, a construction company, is the general contractor for both buildings.