Freie Universität Berlin / Berlin, Germany/ 2006‑2009
Size: 17,780 sq ft / 191,400 sq m
Height: 5 floors
Units: 186 rooms
Status: Completed 2009
Recognition: AIA Chicago Chapter Award
In 2005, the elite Freie Universität Berlin held an international competition to complete its facilities on the extensive campus in the Steglitz-Zehlendorf borough of Berlin. The winning entry, designed by Jahn, includes a 186-room hotel, a 3,000-square-meter conference center, and a 150-space underground garage.
The concept is based on a clear and stringent geometry that completes the rhythm of neighboring university buildings. The form dissolves into two separate volumes, which establish a scaled transition to the residential environment to the north of the site. A continuous roof structure creates a “fifth façade” and spans the garden as a trellis-supported pergola. These vertical green fields of vibrant wisteria bring structure, rhythm, and vegetated shelter to the community space that separates the programmatic volumes.
The conference center establishes a presence at the corner of the major intersection to the north and functions as the primary access point of the site. The hotel entry is located diagonally opposite the southern end of the sloping plot. An interstitial garden spills into the landscape of evergreen with lavender that cradles the buildings.