Former Berlin prison converted into a hotel

Grüntuch Ernst Architects has undertaken the task of rehabilitating a space designed to be antisocial, making it welcoming.

German practice Grüntuch Ernst Architects, founded in 1991, has converted an abandoned women’s prison – composed of a duo of 19th-century structures – in the Charlottenburg district, in Berlin, into a hotel called Wilmina.

The former court hosts the reception as well as a temporary gallery; then, an extension – housing the restaurant – connects the courthouse to the U-shaped cell block, which fits 44 guest rooms across five levels, including a new penthouse floor on the top. A roof terrace was also added, as well as a library, a bar, a spa, and a gym. The interiors respect buildings’ existing architecture and reveal traces of their former use.

“The [design] process involved reversing the spatial configuration and its meaning so that an anti-social space can become an inviting place,” said Grüntuch Ernst Architects.

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