Berlin – It’s a box that workspace clients are increasingly asking architects to tick: ‘build us an office that promotes innovation.’ Not the most concrete brief, and one that those who argue against the idea of architectural determinism will roll their eyes at. Architecture alone can’t make your workforce more innovative, but it can set some of the preconditions, most often by arranging space in such a way that users are pushed (gently) to interact – the mythical ‘serendipitous encounter.’
Realizing this sort of spatial choreography presents a sizeable challenge even when the designers are presented with a blank slate. To achieve it within the constraints of a preexisting building, one created for an entirely different purpose and several decades before ‘innovation’ entered the office manager’s lexicon, is no small feat. This was the task presented to Lxsy Architekten, designers of new Berlin co-working space Spielfeld.
Located in a former post office on Skalitzer Strasse, the listed redbrick building wasn’t one naturally given to channeling the fluid dynamics of a host of digital agencies and startups, something that would have to be achieved under the watchful eye of the heritage protection agency.