BACKYARDS IN BERLIN: GAUDY AND COZY
The Rosenhöfe are the small neighbor of the Hackesche Höfe. Their colorful design will take you to another world.
Berlin lives through its backyards. There is a huge selection of them which ranges from spacious, park-like complexes – like the Hackesche Höfe – to the lightless foursquare yards enclosed within the vintage tenement blocks which for a long time were associated with misery and disease. The Scheunenviertel and Spandauer Vorstadt offer examples of both extremes. Today, anyone who wanders the streets of the neighborhood will, with a little curiosity, come across a great variety of courtyards hidden behind driveways, and sometimes hidden house entrances.
Transformed into a paradise, neglected for decades or turned into a parking lot – each yard tells its own story. In a loose series, we present various courtyards that, together with the Hackesche Höfe, make the neighborhood so unique. In each of these areas, far from the noise of the street, you can discover a different Berlin.
A clever neologism
The Rosenhöfe on Rosenthaler Straße are an example. They are the amazing result of radical redevelopment, a desire for contemporary design and a cry for attention. Even the name says it all: The neologism Rosenhöfe (literally, yards of roses) refers to the large neighbor, the Hackesche Höfe, and Rosenthaler Straße. And to make it clear to even the most innocent visitor which courtyard they are in, the Rosenhöfe entrance is designed in dusky pink.
The Rosenhöfe – two courtyards connected by a large passageway – link buildings from different eras: The historic substance of the 250-year-old building complex goes hand in hand with GDR buildings from the 1950s and contemporary architecture. Today's ensemble is the result of a redesign by the Berlin architect couple Doris and Hinrich Baller. The two have realized quite a number of buildings in Berlin, some admired and some rejected, but in any case polarizing and eye-catching. This is precisely why owners Sruel Prajs and Norma Drimmer chose the Ballers twenty years ago.
Renovation from the ground up
The architects renovated the previously dark and neglected ensemble from the ground up. They tore down walls in eight buildings and broke up floors. At the same time, they opened up interior spaces and exposed staircases. As a result, the formerly closed-off buildings now stretch over several floors as light and open stores and office units. The result is a self-contained ensemble with balconies, columns, paths and gardens. The eight houses offer almost 5,000 square meters of space for stores, offices and services.
With its glazed canopies, the entire arcade has an unexpectedly playful appearance. The historic wooden spiral staircase in the neo-baroque front building on Rosenthaler Straße reappears in the rear area before the transition to the Hackesche Höfe. The quirky balconies with their curved railings have become a hallmark of Baller architecture. Attention is guaranteed: Anyone strolling through the Hackesche Höfe during the warm months will inevitably end up in the Rosenhöfe whose colorful architecture lures visitors into a slightly different world.