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Controversial Chipperfield project clears major hurdle in Berlin

[FIRST LOOK] David Chipperfield has fended off a potential threat from protesters who were attempting to block his proposed overhaul of Berlin’s Kudamm Karree shopping centre

Campaigners have battled to save two historic theatres in the city’s famous Kurfürstendamm which will be flattened to make way for the €500 million scheme (£420 million), backed by Irish developer Ballymore.

However, according to the Irish Times, a local referendum on the issue failed to receive enough votes paving the way for the proposals to continue through planning.

It is understood part of the Chipperfield design include adding a rooftop theatre on top of a new shopping mall.

A spoeksman said: ‘In an ideal world we could have building permission early in 2012.’

The architect’s view

The main urban intervention will be a new pedestrian link on the site between the Kurfürstendamm boulevard and Uhlandstraße. A shopping arcade will lead from the Kurfürstendamm into the interior of the block, ending in a landscaped square. This square will open up to Uhlandstraße where a multi-storey car park currently stands.
The square will form the heart of the development, giving it an urban character.
The view of the existing 1970s office tower will be opened up on the edge of the square, giving the tower a new urban presence and its own address. A new neighbouring, six-storey building will replace a spatially convoluted retail area. The overall development will represent a typical mixture for City West of culture, retail, office space and gastronomy.
A new theatre on the Kurfürstendamm will form the starting point for the ‘Kudamm Karree’. A generous foyer will lead via a grand flight of stairs from the ground floor to the theatre auditorium. The new theatre is designed without tiers and will replace the two existing theatres. From the foyer of the auditorium the visitor has an unobstructed view of the famous boulevard, the Kurfürstendamm.
The façades of the new ‘Kudamm Karree’ buildings will have a uniform appearance. Concrete supports, which are tapered at each end, are situated in front of a glass layer. The grid of columns will be reduced in the upper floors, making a zoning of the different usages legible from the outside. Through the façades, which are visible from a distance, the theatre will gain its own identity as a cultural institution on the Kurfürstendamm.

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