October 25, 2011
The development of Blumberger Damm, in the district of Marzahn in East Berlin, started in 1977. It was part of the then GDR’s major programme to build apartment blocks. Creating over one million homes in just a few years required high levels of industrialisation, with pre-fabrication, standardisation and austere plans, in a system known as “Plattenbau” (slab building). With the fall of the Berlin Wall, many people decided to move out. Marzahn looked grey and depressing with its 11-storey concrete blocks in endless rows, devoid of colour and variation. To raise the status of the area and attract residents once more, a major redevelopment project has started, with work due to continue until 2010.
Finn Ørstrup, member of the architects’ association of Denmark and the danish association
At the end of 2006, I was commissioned to submit a proposal for improving the façades in the district of Blumberger Damm. Such a huge façade proved a major challenge and there was quite a short deadline. The housing company also wanted the refurbishment to be carried out at a reasonable cost to minimise the need for rent increases. The solution was to construct energy-saving glazed balconies from maintenancefree materials such as aluminium and glass. Balco’s balcony systems are perfect for this task. Their industrially manufactured, quality products also allow scope for plenty of variation and options. During the project, I was also able to draw on Balco’s extensive experience to ensure delivery times, cost and quality. I’m so happy to see how many residents use their balconies – even in the worst of weather. A glazed balcony not only brings a façade to life and creates more living space – it also extends the summer and makes the winter shorter.
An elegant colour palette, with a yellow façade and aluminium profiles in many different shades of white. The balconies are also angled to give the facade more life and, to give privacy, all the balconies have matt glass in the lower part of the parapet.