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¯I site plan
Plan: IFUB* I¯

Büro Sauspiel


Renovation and refurbishment in an old chocolate factory, for an office for Sauspiel GmbH.

Location: Neukölln, 12047 Berlin

Year: 2014 - 2015

Owner: Sauspiel GmbH, www.sauspiel.de

In press: AIT 10/2016
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¯I Büro Sauspiel
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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In 2007, four friends from Bavaria sat together in Berlin and decided to create their own website as a way of addressing the lack of players for the cult Bavarian card game "Schafkopf." Seven years later, the enterprise had grown to be so success that new premises were needed for the now 14-strong "Sauspiel GmbH" team. The developers found what they were looking for in the popular area of “Kreuzkölln.” A particularly fine example of historic industrial architecture -

the old chocolate factory

- was up for sale and part of the ground floor was secured as a new future office. An open work structure and flat hierarchy were essential components influencing the plans, combined with the desire for plenty of storage space and a separate apartment for guests. Furthermore, sanitary facilities and a kitchen needed to be created. Of particular importance was installing the technical services and connections in a way that would not disrupt the wonderful, intrinsically uncomplicated characteristics of an open-plan office.
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¯I The chocolate factory from the rear courtyard
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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Built around 1870, the "Chocolate Factory" is one of the oldest commercial buildings in this part of Berlin. In fact, chocolate was produced here from 1926 to 1973. In 1976/1977, the building gained

notoriety

because it was converted, with the consent of the owner but not the local district government, into shared flats. Repeated threats of eviction never materialized and in the following decades the building became known for its residents' festivals, for housing the first Turkish cultural association, and hosting a children's theater known as “Klecks.” Only towards the end of the nineties/early 2000s was the slow conversion of the building initiated. In the course of dividing the building into individual units, fire safety plans were developed which included changes to the unsightly fire escape built in front of the facade and prepping the raw substance of the building. Despite not being historically protected, no majorly complicated interventions were necessary.
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¯I Aerial view
Google Maps I¯
The old factory building is located in the rear courtyard of a compact city block in Berlin’s

Neukölln

district. Its close proximity to the canal and the bustling centers of Kottbusser Tor and Hermannplatz make it a particularly attractive location for young professionals. The office is located on the mezzanine level. Two floors above is "Apartment H," which was also renovated by the IFUB*.
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¯I spatial layout
Sketch: IFUB* I¯
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The main basis of the new design was a desire to conserve, restore, and exhibit the original building structure in its true form. Old and disorderly fitted units were dismantled and two large custom-made room-dividing storage units form the basis of the

new spatial layout.

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¯I colors and materials
Sketch: IFUB* I¯
For the

color and material palettes,

the original red brick floors were conserved to provide a visually coordinated counterpoint to the historic, brick vaulted ceilings. All vertical surfaces were kept white, which provides spatial clarity. Everything else inside the rooms was deliberately set down in a deep, charcoal gray.
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¯I old and new
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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The design, although integrating exciting new materials, is strongly based on the original building. The result is a

field of tension between old and new.

The modern features — which at first appear subtle and subordinate — on closer inspection become surprisingly formative of the new life of the space.
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¯I old and new
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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An equal importance was placed on quality and durability for all new materials, which were also selected to

compliment the design concept.

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¯I supply from above
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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One particular challenge was linking-up the freestanding workstations without destroying the existing floor. The solution came from above:

11 rotatable steel cranes

with a movable cable-reel supply the adjustable tables with power and IT technologies. Accordingly, suitable tables were chosen in which the cables can be passed through a slot from above to the devices.
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¯I crane, ceiling, light
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
In the course of the renovation, the fire safety measures for the supporting structure had to be revised. Sandblasting of the original cast-iron columns and beams ready for a new fire-retardant coating allowed the artistic, brick

Prussian vaulted Ceiling

to be exposed. The individual lights on the cable cranes, in conjunction with light bands invisibly mounted on the carriers, ensure an even illumination of this impressive ceiling.
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¯I office before renovation
Photo: IFUB* I¯
A central view of the office

before the renovation.

The exposed ceilings create a completely different spatial impression. The old toilet (on the left) has been removed.
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¯I office before renovation
Photo: IFUB* I¯
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View of the inner wall before the renovation. During the

dismantling

work, the suspended ceiling on the left, the wall on the right next to the former entrance, and the former internal staircase, were all removed.
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¯I central view
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
Central view of

the open office.

The large built-in units form a new counterpart to the existing wall opposite and define the now almost-square room.
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¯I large built-in unit
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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An important requirement of the client was abundant, invisible storage space. The

large built-in units

serve not only as storage cabinets: The WCs are also hidden behind the closed panels. In addition, the tea room, a large ladder, and the former (now "secret") second access door are also hidden behind the white fronts.
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¯I design of the built-in unit
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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The design of the large built-in units was

fitted to the existing structure.

The curves of the vaulted ceilings were used as a source of inspiration for an exciting distribution of the unit’s compartments.
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¯I the small conference room
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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View from the small conference room: All other features within the room’s frame of white and brick-red surfaces were deliberately coordinated in

gray-black.

In addition to the structural supports, girders, and the tables, such features also include glass partitions.
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¯I overview of the office
Photo: Julia Klug I¯

An overview of the office.

To the back right you can see the stairs to the upper level as well as a new window, which visually links the lower and upper levels. The tea room is also located on that side, within the end compartment of the large built-in unit.
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¯I through the tea room
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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Providing a view

through the tea room,

a cupboard door can be opened to link the two main areas.
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¯I the tea room
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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From the "rear" side of the built-in unit, with its integrated kitchenette, you can access the

passageway

between entrance hall and office. The "cut edge" of the unit reveals a dark interior, in which also the toilets are hidden.
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¯I the entrance hall
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
The main door, which was previously welded shut, was reinstated and the entrance hall shielded from the work area by the large dividing unit. In this

buffer zone

arriving and entering the office space becomes comfortable and convenient for all. The well-disguised door to the WCs and a wardrobe under the stairs are also located in the entrance. The materials of the staircase create a visual link between the industrial basis and the more comfortable practicalities of the office.
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¯I WC entrance
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
The

door to the new WC's

is disguised as a cupboard door, behind which the facilities are hidden within the dark interior of the built-in unit.
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¯I WC entrance
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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The complete

interior of the built-in dividing unit

is set in dark colors. The same color scheme was applied not only to the storage areas, but also the tea room and the WCs. There are separate male and female WCs, with a small front area with a washbasin.
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¯I WC
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
The compact toilets are visually extended by mirrors on the front and back. A single slanted lamp becomes an infinite wave of light. A truly

intergalactic toilet experience.

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¯I the stairs
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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The new staircase leads to the upper level. On the wall next to the stairs,

decorative shadows

from the new railing liven-up the space.
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¯I upper floor before renovation
Photo: IFUB* I¯
Central view of the upper level

before the renovation.

The exposed ceilings also create a completely different spatial impression here, too. The entrance in the background leads to the staircase.
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¯I top floor before renovation
Photo: IFUB* I¯
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During the

clearing

of the upper level, a partitioning wall was demolished. The floor had to be completely removed before laying the new floorboards.
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¯I small "trailer" on upper floor
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
The new staircase leads to the rooms above the courtyard. The small, trailer-like unit is set into the long room and houses a shower room and a small kitchen. In addition to its regular use as a meeting space for more

intensive meetings or enthusiatic rounds

on the game console, the space also serves as a

guest apartment.

The separate entrance from the stairwell supports this function. The upper area, with the pinewood floorboards and the ergonomic furniture, was intentionally made more comfortable.
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¯I apartment kitchen
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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The new kitchen is small but fully functional. Where the built-in unit meets the ceiling, its profile is reminiscent of an old

gypsy caravan,

which is why the fronts were designed with vertical grooves to echo a slatted appearance.
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¯I the new window
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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The new window was placed exactly in line with the passageway between the entrance and the office, creating

a visual connection

across the entire office unit.
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¯I shower room
Photo: IFUB* I¯
Inside the "trailer" is a compact, lovingly designed

shower room.

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¯I the tiles
Photo: Julia Klug I¯
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Saving the best until last - the floor of six different colored,

triangular floor tiles

is a real eye-catcher within the otherwise minimalistic shower room.
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¯I floor plan before renovation
Plan: IFUB* I¯

floor plan before renovation

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¯I floor plan after renovation
Plan: IFUB* I¯

floor plan after renovation

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¯I Longitudinal section after
Plan: IFUB* I¯

Longitudinal section after renovation

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¯I cross section after
Plan: IFUB* I¯

cross section after renovation

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