By adding a building to the list of monuments, that deserve protection, one preserves a typical, exemplary and outstanding structure for a specific construction period. The restrictions to maintain its characteristic value is often of no appreciation of potential investors, striving for profitability. To write-off a historical monument is undoubtedly attractive, but the imposed restrictions, coming with it, are considered inconvenient and cost-cumulating.
To illustrate the difference between profitable institutions with ownership and for example a pool of people with the passion for preservation, this work examines three monuments in the area of Potsdam, that are/were treated entirely different.
It furthermore deals with the general requirements a building needs to fulfill, to be categorized “worthy to protect” and which funding options are coming with it.
This examination questioned the original intention of this thesis – laying the foundation to categorize a residential building as a preserved monument, erected in 1888 in Berlin-Weißensee. While reappraising the buildings’ and areal history it then seemed most likely to protect the entire area instead:
Before Weißensee became a district of Berlin in 1920, the borders of Berlin (district Prenzlauer Berg), Pankow and Weißensee, created triangles at their point of intersection on the country road to Prenzlau. One of these triangles was especially pointed and part of Berlin’s “Gründerviertel” (district of the Wilhelmian period). It was traditionally occupied by craftspeople, which combined living and working with a widely self-sufficient lifestyle. This synthesis of living and working shaped characteristic ensembles of residential buildings with garages, stores, stables and yards.
But those formerly lively streets and ornamented facades with their shops of “Weißenseer Spitze” have now vanished into plain sanified surfaces with hardly any grace. Shops were modified to flats or simply abandoned. Weißensee has become a popular district to move to, which calls for new buildings and a change in land use of those existing lots, to create as many flats as possible. But with this, those formative ensembles of working and living will disappear piece by piece and the entire district will lose its historical background.
The three-story building at Heinersdorfer Straße 44 did also lose its significant 1888 facade design. Only the solid building envelope, some wood beam floors and some box-type windows & wooden doors passed the time. The buildings’ wing, as well as the ground floor and the roof have been replaced in the 1980s.
The major part of this thesis funds on intense research of the original archive files, the analysis of the buildings’ structure (by creating detailed room datasheets and datasheets for the rafters) by charting the damage in elevations and partly three-dimensional, as well as the measurement of the entire complex with its yard in accuracy stage II. Following these baseline studies, restoration actions, hierarchized by their urgency, were given and a reconstruction schedule, which guarantees continuous habitability, was set.
The, after that, newly developed utilization concept picks up the recovery of the overall appearance of the locality in its facade design, its space allocation plan und its yard. The owner’s job profile – textile artist and costume breakdown artist – is to be found in painted allegories on white tiles and several other design features across the facade, paved paths in the yard that are laid out like a weaving pattern and the combined use of living and working in side wing and main building.
In the future the owner will occupy the main buildings’ northern ground floor area, as well as the entire first floor. The upper floors contain three small flats and a studio, open to close friends and artists. Albeit Heinersdorfer Straße 44 will not possess an open shop front, as face-to-face interaction with its neighborhood, its new facade and its space allocation plan will offer plenty of possibilities to sit back and get into creative exchange.