urban development berlin

Each time builds its city.

Mathias Groß in conversation about the “Ostkreuz Campus” in Rudolfkiez

In January, we reported on project developer PANDION’s plans to develop the ambitious “Ostkreuz Campus” office and commercial project in the Rudolfkiez district of Friedrichshain.

The development of the “Ostkreuz Campus”, which the company is currently pushing ahead with, is one of the most exciting projects being implemented by PANDION in the Berlin metropolitan region. The future campus site is located at the corner of Persiusstraße and Bödikerstraße in the so-called Rudolfkiez in the Friedrichshain district.

The future 12,400 square meter campus will consist of three individually designed buildings, which will nevertheless form a functional and design unit: the PANDION ZINC, the PANDION POLLUX and a third building, which is currently still in the planning stage.

We had the opportunity to talk to Mathias Groß, head of PANDION’s Berlin office, about the project.

URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Dear Mr. Groß, thank you for giving us your time for a short interview. To begin with, we would like to know something about the company PANDION. The company is headquartered in Cologne, but also has a presence in Berlin, primarily with innovative construction projects in its core residential business. What is the company’s approach to planning and executing its projects?

Mathias Groß: PANDION is an owner-managed, medium-sized group of companies based in Cologne with offices in Munich, Berlin and Stuttgart. Since 2002, we have been involved in the development, realization and sale of high-quality and individual residential projects. We have been steadily expanding our commitment to office properties since 2014. About six years ago, I had the privilege of setting up the PANDION Berlin branch. Our aspiration in the planning and execution of our projects is primarily reflected in the fact that we very quickly develop a conceptual, architectural-functional vision for a property. In the meantime, PANDION real estate projects have become a recognizable “brand article”. For us, the inner-city location at the top sites, a unique architecture and a concept oriented to the needs of the users play a very important role. If you reliably deliver quality here, it creates trust and loyalty to the brand.

“INSTEAD OF WORKING IN A HOME OFFICE, OUR BUILDINGS STAND FOR WORKING IN AN OFFICE-HOME.”

One of your most ambitious projects is the “Ostkreuz Campus,” which we recently reported on ENTWICKLUNGSSTADT. Why does the project stand out from other projects, what makes it so special in your view?

The extraordinary exterior and interior architecture of our office ensembles clearly distinguishes them from other projects, making them a landmark. Particularly important to us are clear external structures that at the same time allow users to feel a sense of spaciousness inside. That’s why, with building depths of 19 to 23 meters, we are relying on completely flexible and sustainable architecture. Depending on the needs of the tenants, there can be usage units of between 400 and almost 5,000 square meters on one level. In total, we offer up to 50,000 square meters. This means that individual, open-plan and combined offices can be individually combined here with informal and more traditional meeting zones as well as alternative workplaces, because each individual floor can be used throughout without fire walls.  The holistic room acoustics and lighting concept in each of the campus buildings enables concentrated work. In addition, the floor-to-ceiling windows with elements that can be opened as well as loggias and roof terraces provide light, air and freedom. With the interior design, we create a feel-good atmosphere that takes up the ideas of New Work and thus makes the workplace a magnet for employees. Instead of working in a home office, our buildings stand for working in an office home.

The “Ostkreuz Campus” is being built in one of the most exciting and popular districts of the capital. What do you expect from the development of the project in the Rudolfkiez area and what should the new campus be or become for the neighborhood there?

That’s right, the Rudolfkiez is located in the middle of the city and at the same time has developed a mature life of its own, characterized by a mixture of tranquility and serenity between industrial architecture, old buildings and a few modern buildings. I’m fascinated by the fact that long-established craft businesses sit here alongside clubs, neighborhood gardens and schools. To the south of the Ostkreuz campus waits the banks of the Spree, to the east is the Stralau peninsula, and to the north are numerous cafés, restaurants and bars around Sonntagstrasse. There’s plenty to discover here during your lunch break or after work! That’s what makes this neighborhood so interesting, in my opinion.
Of course, our projects will and should set new impulses in the neighborhood. The property has been used commercially for more than 100 years. The borough is securing and expanding the commercial area through a development plan. The Ostkreuz Campus will create up to 3,500 new jobs and new offerings for employees* and residents*.

“EACH BUILDING WAS DESIGNED BY A DIFFERENT ARCHITECTURAL FIRM SELECTED BY US.”

In its final design, the “Ostkreuz Campus” will consist of a total of three buildings. What will be the architectural and functional bracket between these three buildings so that one can truly speak of a “campus”?

Each building has been designed by a different architectural firm selected by us. The resulting versatile architectural language ensures dynamism and variety. At the same time, there is a focal point on the “Campus Ostkreuz”. This role is played by the PANDION POLLUX office building with its spacious inner courtyard. With 27,000 m² of rental space, it is the largest of the three buildings, around which the striking and also six-story PANDION ZINC and a third office building are grouped. Guidance systems, pathways, lighting concepts and communal green spaces provide the overarching framework of the properties as bracketed elements. The surrounding green spaces open up to the neighboring sports facility and incorporate the surrounding area. The integration of the buildings into the immediate scenery invites the neighborhood to participate, creating a sense of togetherness. The open structure of the “Ostkreuz Campus” also creates a transparent atmosphere, so that inside and outside are fluidly intertwined, creating new perspectives on and for the neighborhood. Lounge and exercise areas in the common open space of the courtyards offer places for exchange and recreation as well as outdoor work areas where laptops can be conveniently connected. There will also be a central food court and café in the PANDION POLLUX. In addition, there is a mobility concept integrated for the entire campus. The focus here is on bicycles with e-charging stations, secure parking areas, showers and separate ramps.

“FOR US AS PROJECT DEVELOPERS, THE COLLABORATION WITH THE CULTURAL WORKERS IS ALSO IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT GIVES US AN EXTRAORDINARY OCCASION TO ENTER INTO AN EXCHANGE WITH THE NEIGHBORHOOD.”

There are often many bureaucratic and legal hurdles to clear before a project can actually be implemented, and this can drag on from time to time. In order to put the older properties, which are often located on the sites to be developed, to good use before they are demolished, you have established the concept of interim cultural use. What is the motivation behind this idea and what actions have you been able to implement with it so far?

As an owner-managed project developer, we see ourselves as an important part of how a city is shaped, where people come together, what the prevailing atmosphere is, and how urban repair is designed. I am convinced that a neighborhood with a vibrant arts and culture scene contributes to a livable environment just as much as a functioning residential and commercial infrastructure. In 2018, we therefore ventured into something new together with the BFW Landesverband Berlin/ Brandenburg e.V. and other project developers and launched the “Initiative Transiträume” as a permanent contact point with which we network the neighborhood, the creative scene and the real estate industry. For us as project developers, the collaboration with the creative artists is also important because it gives us an extraordinary occasion to enter into an exchange with the neighborhood. At Campus Ostkreuz, we facilitated a publicly accessible immersive theater project over the turn of 2019/2020. The arts organization “Dream World” successfully tested its first interactive exhibition here over about three weeks. Previously, we supported 168 artists* in the design of the world’s largest temporary street art gallery “THE HAUS” before realizing the residential project of the same name there. In 2018, we had numerous gritty cultural interim uses at the current location of PANDION THE SHELF. Across the street from it and thus directly next to our office project PANDION THE GRID, former transformer spaces, PANDION THE GRID CABINS, have been used as temporary galleries since fall 2020.

Dear Mr. Groß, thank you for your time!

 

© Grafiken: PANDION AG

A picture of the project: This is what the future campus in the southern part of Friedrichshain will look like.

The visualisation here shows the “PANDION POLLUX” building, which is to become part of the overall ensemble.

 

FOR MORE INTERVIEWS AND ALL EPISODES OF THE ENTWICKLUNGSSTADT PODCAST, PLEASE VISIT OUR INTERVIEW PAGE.
MORE PROJECTS IN FRIEDRICHSHAIN CAN BE FOUND HERE.

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