Set off the main square in Kirchsteigfeld, a planned community for 5,000 residents near Potsdam, Germany, this project addressed a program to re-house Germans living in substandard conditions in the former eastern zone of Berlin. The project included underground parking, a ground-level supermarket, offices on the second floor, and four floors of apartments.

The main challenge was to create a highly livable, sustainable, and architecturally dynamic building that adhered to a strict master plan and building codes that mandated everything from window sizes to the requirement that living and dining rooms face south. The crux of the project was to find a design that was as rigorous as the rules yet achieved a playful formal quality. This difficult result was accomplished by a plan that comported with guidelines for overall heights and roof slopes with a rectangular “hinterhof” courtyard design reminiscent of Berlin.

The site was crowned by a round six-story residential tower acting as a campanile on the town square and giving the village a powerful new visual reference point. Sustainable design elements include heavy concrete walls for thermal insulation and the orientation of major living spaces to maximize natural daylight. A roof garden provides green space for residents and helps with rainwater run-off control.