In Berlin OMA “breaks” KaDeWe to make it more contemporary

The historic German mall is being renovated, with the intention of offering a prestige mall experience that is better suited to the present times.

KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens) belongs to historical European urban department stores, such as Galeries Lafayette or La Rinascente. Its evolution, since its opening in 1907, reflects Germany’s modern history, but late 20th century modifications and globalization have turned its current set up into an obsolete model.

OMA’s project proposes to breaks the existing building – the biggest of this kind in continental Europe – into four quadrants, in order to obtain smaller and easily accessible and navigable components, each one with different architectural and commercial qualities and target.

Maquette. Image courtesy of OMA.

Each quadrant addresses a different street entrance and is organized around a core void, acting both as a main central atrium and a primary vertical distribution space. Each void is developed specifically into the nine levels. A cross-shaped organizational system reinforces each commercial floor, regulating the use of the spaces and the general circulation systems.

The original vaulted rooftop becomes a compact glass volume which offers an expansive view of Berlin. The new configuration of the rooftop creates an open-air courtyard, irregular in shape, between the new architectural inserts and the original building.

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