17th and last article on the series “on day, one article – Potsdamer Platz”. The Sony Center is one of the most interessant new buildings of Berlin. It takes place between the Potsdamer Platz and the Bellevuestrasse. In spite of the Daimler-Chrysler lot, designed by different architects, the Sony Center is a transparent construction in glass and steel composed by eight elements designed by only one hand.
The parts are disposed around a large oval “forum” (Sony Plaza) with caffes, restaurants, cinema and shops, covered by a unique curtain coverage in glass and steel, which seems to get rid on the square. This is a pioneering work of engineering.
On the Potsdamer Platz, on the other hand, we can find a glass skyscraper, with a semicircular-shaped plan, developed on 26 floors (103 meters) ; the highest building of this area.
The Kaisersaal of the ex luxurious hotel Eplanade, one of the few buildings still there after the World War II, was integrated to the new construction. In 1996, this was moved by 75 meters thanks to a spectacular and complex hydraulic system, which allowed to move this block of 1300 tonnes.
This complex hosts the offices and the apartments of Sony, a cinematographic society, a multiplex cinema and a sort of commercial gallery.
The architectural language of the different parts of the complex was defined as commercial with apertures to the high-technology. The image which architects Murphy and Jahn wanted to give is connected to the global communication, also if the organization of the complex highlights the central point and not really the aperture to the external space.
The most particular element is for sure the covered square, even if it doesn’t really transmit the original idea of a totally public square. In spite of the Posdamer Platz, the Sony forum has a more autonomous and particular character.
by Jean-Baptiste Hurstel
Credit Photo: Geraldine Andrieu