Europe's largest department store will be split into four
Rotterdam's OMA has been given the nod to extensively renovate Berlin's famous Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) department store. The firm will mostly focus on modernizing the interior by splitting it into four sections, but a distinctive new glass roof will also be added.
Having first opened its doors in 1907, KaDeWe is Continental Europe's largest department store. Following its part-destruction at the hands of Allied bombs in WWII, it was subsequently rebuilt and has been extended and remodeled over the decades, becoming an architectural symbol for Germany's post-war economic growth.
OMA judges the building's current layout and size – over 60,000 sq m (645,834 sq ft) – unwieldy. To address this, the firm will split KaDeWe into four separate sections, each featuring its own distinct architectural style and serving as its own department store.
"Throughout the nine levels of the building the voids transform in size and extension, avoiding any repetition and making every floor unique: they disappear on the ground floor, morph through the commercial areas, and – in one case only – reach the new rooftop," says the firm.
Each section will be arranged around a central atrium and will be accessible from its own street entrance to improve connectivity and ease congestion. The firm's renders depict impressively-sculpted staircases within the atriums.
In addition, KaDWe's existing vaulted rooftop restaurant will be replaced with a new glass volume that will feature an open-air courtyard. The new glass roof will offer visitors choice views over Berlin and be reachable from street level via two elevators.