Barkow Leibinger

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

Umbau Kaufhalle am Brill Bremen

The Kaufhalle Bremen am Brill, dating back to the early 60’s resists easy categorization. It is neither a historical monument nor a particularly outstanding work of architecture. At the same time as an existing urban artifact there remains a compelling latency as it stands abandoned and in disuse. There was an ambition there both materially, formally and syntactically that begs consideration. What is the value of this building/ artefact as found?

Rather than assimilating this architecture/ artefact into a completely new order, new syntax our central approach to this project was to ask: could one tease out a third condition where critical renovation allows both orders to co-exist to achieve something both startling and unexpected. Like many projects we have accomplished in the past this projects looks at a context that could offer something generational in a very real and physical way. While this could be an urban setting, a site, or a landscape in this case it is the existing building itself, which is suggestive.

So than rather than subsuming it (making it disappear) the strategy is to react to it. In reacting there is the chance for doing something. Therefore we find ourselves using tools that have to do with a particular action such as selecting, clearing (aufräumen), stacking onto, connecting/ wrapping. This work becomes suddenly objective, free from intuition, free from infinite choices. It sets forth the possibility for a new order where both conditions the historical and the speculative can merge allowing both a legibility. In a performative sense all of these activities begin to have a status. They unify the building, they create a new urban stadtraum, construct a new system for façade, provide new types and hierarchies of space.

Strategically resembling a merging of “pimp my ride” with the wrappings of Christo what eventually emerges is a condition that can be both, familiar and strange, homogeneous and heterogeneous, sublime and awkward.

Project Information

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


Team Design — Kent Wu, Hiroki Nakamura, Jason Sandy, Jens Weßel



Shops, Gastronomy, Offices



Bremen, Germany



1.877 sqm




Mechanical Engineers

Zibell, Willner und Partner