House for an Artist
Berlin, Germany 2010–2013
This project for an artist client involved the renovation of a listed mill in Hellmühle, in the countryside north-east of Berlin. In one form or another, a mill building had existed at the site since the sixteenth century. The mill forms part of a historic group of buildings surrounded by forest and within an environmentally protected lake landscape.
The existing structure occupying the site until 2008, when the project was undertaken, was the result of an extensive renovation from the mid-1930s, which introduced a formality and overbearing representational quality to the house. In the post-war period, the building had fallen into disrepair. The project reconciles the conservation authorities’ requirement to conserve the Nazi-era transformation of the building, with the owner’s desire for a relaxed country house with a good relationship to its site. A new garage and garden building form a threshold to a new front garden. Dense planting gives the garden an identity and provides some privacy from adjoining properties. The exterior of the house has been carefully restored and the fake half-timbering of the first floor has been patinated. The colour variation between timber, stucco and stone is subdued and the graphic, Neo-Medieval image of the house is made more abstract. On the garden façade, a large new opening has been formed to make a garden room; a new space that gives physical access to a large garden and views to the lake beyond. The new opening and associated first floor windows are made of cast concrete, which follows the relief and tone of the existing house in both profile and colour. On the inside, the interior of the house develops as a series of rich and varied rooms. The detail and tonal range of the 1930s rooms have been softened, and their setting has been adjusted by new interiors and enriched by new built-in furniture. Through delicateness and wit, the whole has a new identity, leaving behind the bombast of the 1930s and adopting the mild manners of an English Arts and Crafts house.
Caruso St John Architects
Adam Caruso, Peter St John, Florian Zierer
Colm mac Aoidh, Neslihan Aydogan, Christoph Bedall, Hannah Kuby, Michael Schneider