ACME is awarded 2nd prize for its office building design proposal in Nollendorfplatz. The building's expressive sculptural facade draws inspiration from Nollendorfplatz's rich cultural history, in particular the avant-garde work of theatre director and producer, Erwin Piscator.

Project Details +

Project Details


CLIENT: Bauwens

DATE: 2021

STATUS: Competition, 2nd prize

SIZE: 5,500m2

Credits +


ACME: Alex Chan, Kayu Chan, Tim Laubinger, Friedrich Ludewig, Alvaro Madrazo, Heidrun Schuhmann, Sheena Seeley, Keigo Yoshida


Webb Yates Engineers


Stanek Ingenieure

Helmbold Modellbau

Fire Consultant: Brigitte Abele-Becker (Stanek Ingenieure, Berlin)

Sustainability Design: Thomas Auer (Transsolar, Stuttgart) 

Model maker: Kathrin Helmbold (Helmbold Modellbau, Berlin) 

Nollendorfplatz was once celebrated as one of Berlin’s most beautiful squares, designed by Lenné in the style of an opulent garden. In the golden 1920s era, it was a pulsating centre of culture and nightlife, cinema and theatre. Hoppla, We’re Alive! (Hoppla, wir leben!), performed at the Neues Schauspielhaus in 1927, was a “New Objectivity” play by the seminal epic theatre director Erwin Piscator, and a milestone in the history of theatre. The stage set for the play includes an innovative three story structure with seven rooms without front facade, giving the audience an X-ray view of the daily life of the actors. Few traces remain today in Nollendorfplatz of all the historic layers of theatre, gay life and counterculture.

The proposals for the missing building on the square seek to fill the urban gap next to the Schauspielhaus, and to celebrate the cultural history of this unique urban space. Photos of the original actors of the Hoppla, We’re Alive! Play from 1927 as well as more recent productions are used to create 3D virtual models. Varying levels of sculpting and pixelation are used to create a range of 70 figures that will be CNC machined from green granite. The stone elements will not be used as superfluous decoration, but in the spirit of “New Objectivity”, they will be the structural columns for the building, performing both aesthetic and functional uses.

The sculptural elaboration varies from the untreated, rough granite monolith to the interpretation of the human form. Neither gender nor skin colour can be read. The main material of the columns is granite, a common facade material in Berlin. Depending on light, viewing angle and veining of the natural stone, the figures and monoliths can create different visual effects. The figure facade is both a sculptural expression of the significance of the site and a statically effective component of the supporting structure.

Historical and contemporary actors serve as form-givers for the figures of the facade, they are parametrically abstracted and reduced to an expressive plasticity. The high degree of abstraction avoids competition with the figures of the Metropols theatre.


Related Projects