MVRDV proposes bold green remake of aging movie studio
Since the early 20th century, the Berliner Union Film Ateliers (BUFA) studio in Germany has been the site of countless movies and TV shows. Now showing its age and in need of more than a lick of paint, eclectic Dutch firm MVRDV has been tapped to lead a modern renovation that will improve its flexibility and add greenery and sustainability features.
The project, named Atelier Gardens, also involves HS-Architekten and Harris Bugg Studio, and is being developed by Fabrix. It spans 23,800 sq m (roughly 256,000 sq ft) and, according to MVRDV's press release, will be used to "pioneer the future of farming, food, finance, film, leadership, education and other sectors that benefit from direct democratic participation."
The plans are currently centered around two buildings, which the team has already received planning permission for, though the idea is to eventually modernize the entire site. The renovation of the House 1, which was constructed in 1997, is the more extensive of the two. The building is poorly insulated, becoming too hot in the summer and cold in the winter. MVRDV aims to mitigate this with a new wooden frame on its exterior and large amounts of climbing plants. The frame will also create a rooftop garden accessible both from inside and via a zigzagging staircase, while the building's interior will be used to host flexible workspaces, a café-bar, and meeting spaces.
The second building, Studio 1, is almost 100 years old and a listed building – which means it's considered architecturally important by law and can't be significantly altered. MVRDV's intervention will therefore be somewhat modest. The firm will refresh the interior decor and add a skylight and a curtain rail that divides the space, allowing it to be divided up as a multifunction space for workshops, meetings, film screenings, and larger gatherings (the renders also depict a yoga session taking place there).
Plans for the wider development will focus on natural light and ventilation, and rainwater collection and storage systems, as well as greywater recycling systems, will feature. Much of the existing paving will be removed in favor of greenery, while another plan involves steel being salvaged from the demolition of two outdated warehouses and reused on-site to create a new entrance pavilion.
"Our vision for Atelier Gardens is to build on BUFA's history as a place of energy and passion and work with creative, forward thinking people to build a home for exchange, action and global impact," says developer Fabrix's CEO, Clive Nichol. "The original studios serve as a reminder of the creative impulse that Berlin gave the world in the 1920s and are starting point and inspiration for the journey we are now embarking on. As with all of our projects we are repurposing the existing buildings and adapting their use to meet the evolving needs of our urban environments."