Inviting administration - new town hall Bernau near Berlin

The picture shows a big conference room featuring a big screen, light grey materials and wooden details.
© Maximilian Meisse

Bernau is a town with 40,000 inhabitants in the Barnim district, a few kilometres northwest of Berlin. The town's eventful history is also reflected in the inner-city development. In 2014, the citizens voted for the construction of a new town hall that would concentrate the administration centrally in the town centre.

Urban planning challenges

The winning design by studioinges from Berlin is based on an identity-forming building that asserts itself in the field of tension between the market square, the classicist buildings and the prefabricated slab buildings from the GDR era with its own modern design language. The resulting building cube does not attempt to close the existing block development. Instead, it enters into a dialogue with the historic buildings through its striking contours and its own forecour, thus creating a continuation or extension of the traditional squares in Bernau's inner city.

Open concept

The design by studioinges is based on two building blocks that have grown together: Firstly, a dominant, central main building with a front facing the square. It houses the meeting hall, which has already been identified by the façade design, as well as the citizens' office with foyer. The higher part of the building is framed by an L-shaped element in which the offices of the city administration are located. The internal structure of the design is similarly transparent and well thought-out as the external appearance: it is intended to open up and enliven the public-oriented and representative part of the building - so that the citizens of Bernau see their new town hall as creating an identity and use it without reservation.

Comprehensible use cases

In order to implement this consistently, the use of the ground floor and 1st floor for public use is possible separately from the other floors. An atrium as a central space provides natural light in the lower area, and in the corridors of the upper floors, break, communication and meeting areas are enhanced by the openness of the design with its generous views. The roof terrace is also accessible to the public outside opening hours, and a public bistro on the ground floor attracts a large number of visitors.

At a glance

Object:New Bernau Town Hall, Bernau near Berlin
Design:studioinges Architektur und Städtebau BDA, Berlin
Doors:TBB Türen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH, Berlin-Pankow
Interior fittings, kitchenettes:Tischlerei Schade, Bernau
Reception desk:Tischlerei & Küchenhaus Velten GmbH, Velten
Completion:2020

Focus on materiality

The reduced colour scheme and materiality of the building are designed - in addition to the aesthetic effect - to facilitate orientation in the building in a restrained manner. Wall cladding and doors made of real wood slats as well as smooth floors, parapets and free soffits on the concrete ceilings characterise the image. The use of colour accents is correspondingly sensitive: The Pfleiderer decors vulcanite, anthracite grey and chalk provide subtle accentuation so that doors to functional rooms and sanitary areas are immediately recognisable. The dark decors are also used as part of the interior fittings in the offices and for the reception counter in the foyer of the town hall, in vertical and other less intensively used areas also as PrimeBoard with the same decor and structure.

Functionality implemented sensitively

With its minimalist concept, the New Bernau Town Hall also benefits from the cross-product availability of Pfleiderer materials and their precise gradation according to intensity of use. This means that the corresponding elements can be precisely matched to the colour scheme of parapets and the textile sound insulation materials used - and thanks to the innovative XTreme surface, can also be realised in the desired matt look. At the same time, reception counters, doors and furniture fixtures as well as tea kitchens can be implemented in exactly the same decor - even if very different resistance and hygienic requirements are formulated with Duropal HPL, PrimeBoard and Duropal SolidColor.

Aesthetics designed to last

The Pfleiderer materials do not only show their special quality at first glance. With their easy-to-clean surfaces and the fascinating anti-fingerprint effect, they ensure, especially on the dark decors, that the Bernau Town Hall always receives its visitors in an attractive manner. The doors made with Pfleiderer products deserve special attention: just like the wood-look models, they are recessed flush into the wall surfaces. Thanks to the use of Duropal SolidColor with a solid-coloured core, the mitre joints also present an absolutely harmonious picture that implements the straight lines of the design philosophy down to the last detail.

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