Barkow Leibinger

Barkow Leibinger
Schillerstraße 94, D–10625 Berlin
T +49(0)30 315712 -0 F -29


The ICC (International Congress Center) a colossal megastructure opened in 1979 in Berlin-West as part of the Berlin-Messe or exhibition center is now obsolete and empty of use. As initiated by the Berlin Morgenpost (daily newspaper) a call for ideas is looking for new ideas for its adaptive reuse.

A fascinating urban artifact at the scale of infrastructure the ICC is located between the Autobahn and garden allotment dwellings. Recalling other infrastructural projects from that era such as the Schlangenbaderstrasse (terraced housing built over the Autobahn) or similarly located Bierpinsel (tower, restaurant and disco) was the idea of re-colonizing existing infrastructure for urgently needed housing where costs are rising quickly. 

With this need for affordable housing in Berlin’s current market Barkow Leibinger propose ICC-Kolonie: an idea for appropriating the vast interior of the ICC with stacked live-work modules that frame a central atrium garden. The operable roof attached to the existing truss/ beam construction enables a biotope climate in cold weather that can open to the sun and air in warm weather. The vertical stacked dwellings form a kind of topographical city with orientations to the green center garden or from the exterior facades out to the city.

In this way a sheltered quiet interior co-exists with the exterior of the building without dramatic alterations of its form or volume.


Project Information

ICC-Kolonie - a proposal to reactivate the ICC in Berlin, initiated by the Berliner Morgenpost


Architects — Barkow Leibinger, Berlin, Frank Barkow, Regine Leibinger


Team and Visualization: Gustav Düsing