Dutch embassy - Berlin

For the Dutch Embassy in Berlin, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested a stand-alone building with an open and autonomous character to symbolise Dutch openness. However, the guidelines from the Berlin city planners stated that the new construction in the ‘Roldandufer in Mitte’ district had to have an enclosed form in accordance with a 19th Century style.

OMA integrated the conflicting requirements via a freestanding cube with one corner ridged inwards by 27 meters.  An L-shaped construction around it houses some of the supporting facilities and residences. In this way, an enclosed building was realised with a symbolic courtyard within.

The space within the cube is divided over split-level floors. A continuous corridor moves up through the building, connecting the office floors together. This trajectory also distributes fresh air drawn from the double plenum façade to the work spaces (the areas that the path has carved out of the cube). At one point the path escapes the constraints of the cube and cantilevers over the courtyard. The regularity of the cube's glass and steel facade is disturbed again at moments where the path grazes the exterior, making itself visible from the outside and providing strategic views of the Spree, and the television tower.

Photo: OMA / Christian Richters