A lively place where everyone is welcome – that’s the vision for the new project at Hermannplatz. In its early years, the Karstadt building was very popular with residents and visitors alike; it was much more than a department store, it was a place to shop and especially to experience – a place that had something to offer everyone. Now the building will be redesigned with the aim of regaining its past popularity. Our vision for the new Karstadt building takes up the cubature and design of the 1920s. In the project definition phase we aim to consider the interests and needs of the residents of Kreuzberg and Neukölln as well as visitors to the neighbourhood. We want to engage in dialogue right from the start. The project could become a model for the implementation of the new Berlin guidelines for citizen participation.
A mixed-use property is planned to make the building a lively place for the people. There won’t be a “classic mall” or an accumulation of large retail chains here. Karstadt will continue to provide local shopping amenities as a central part of the building. The current department store concept will be revised and adapted to trends such as online trading. This is the only way to ensure future viability for Karstadt and job security for the employees. In addition, further spaces will be created that will enable a wide diversity of use and reflect the everyday needs of people, for example offices, apartments, kindergarten and premises for local initiatives or community facilities. The integration of local operators ensures additional, important links to the local surroundings. Publicly usable areas, for example for cultural events, a large market hall and in particular a roof terrace open to the public, will make the building freely accessible to the neighbourhood and its visitors.
But there are also plans to improve the quality of life and the overall environment on and around Hermannplatz beyond the building itself. A forward-looking mobility concept has plans for a car-free space. The square should invite people to linger. Right of way is given to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. This will make Hermannplatz a prime example of the traffic turnaround in Berlin.