Year: 2021
Location: Berlin, Germany
Service phases: Preliminary Design
Program: Housing, Retail, Restaurant, Office
Area: ca.50.000m²
Team: Christoph Langhof, Claudia Quester,
Kyrylo Sledz, Sadaf Ahadi, Sarath Saitongin

Gardens of Urania

City like gardens

What if we built our cities like gardens? And connect with traditions from 200 years ago and interpret them in a modern way. For our current society and for our ecological demands. The time is ripe – now.

We have designed a project around the Urania in Berlin, based on the following idea: Architects and urban planners think – roughly simplified – in spaces, large and small, indoor and outdoor spaces. These are intended to fulfill specific tasks, functions, and purposes and are networked and connected with other spaces through corridors, paths, streets, and squares, among other things. These spaces generally fulfill two essential tasks: they protect people from violence and the hardships of nature, and they serve as representation. They show, both internally and externally, the spirit of the people who live in these spaces.

Kurfürstenstraße Urania
Kurfürstenstraße Urania
Kurfürstenstraße Urania

The built space first, and then the “rest”

What is crucial is the order of thinking. First, we think in built spaces, then comes the “rest.” The result is the built environment. The emphasis is on building. Only at the end of this process, if at all, do ideas and thoughts follow to complement and enhance the built environment with trees, hedges, gardens, parks, and other landscape elements. The result can be seen everywhere. So far so good. Historically grown that way, but not necessarily good and sensible.


What if, for this purpose, we reversed the order of thinking and acting in urban planning and architecture? What if we started by putting gardens, parks, and smaller and larger landscapes at the center of thinking and planning, and let the city emerge around them, and not the other way around? And, last but not least, by doing so, set new standards for the ecological transformation process. For green, livable cities – today and in the future.

Kurfürstenstraße Urania