Gehry Designs Tallest German Residential Building in Berlin

A design by Frank Gehry, the architect responsible for the Guggenheim Museum in the Spanish city of Bilbao, will be used for a building on Berlin’s Alexanderplatz that will be Germany’s tallest apartment tower.

The 39-floor property will have a height of 150 meters (490 feet) and contain about 300 apartments, a hotel and a spa, Hines said today in a statement. The Houston-based developer plans to spend as much as 250 million euros ($340 million) on the project, which is due to start in 2015.

“Berlin is becoming more of an international metropolis and this project is a sign of that,” Regula Luescher, Berlin’s Senate building director, said in an interview after a briefing to announce the plan. “This building will be a landmark.”

Alexanderplatz is a square surrounded by Soviet-style office blocks and one of Berlin’s most famous structures, the needle-like Fernsehturm television tower. It’s also the setting for Berlin Alexanderplatz, a 15-hour film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Gehry’s cream-colored, stone-clad building will turn on its axis at the top 12 stories with four connected towers in a design that Luescher and the developer likened to a cloverleaf.

Construction Boom

Germany is going through a construction boom as developers take advantage of rising rents and prices, and the government invests in development of affordable homes to meet a housing shortage. About 225,000 homes were built in 2013, the most since 2004, according to data compiled by the ZDB and HDB construction associations.

The apartments in the building on Alexanderplatz will probably be sold to private individuals, said Christoph Reschke, Hines’ Germany managing director. Buyers from outside Germany will likely be attracted to the building, said Luescher.

“Berlin is certainly a hotspot for developers right now,” Reschke said in an interview at the event. “There’s a well-functioning German economy and a catch-up effect in housing, so it’s not just German investors but also international investors who are coming to do projects.”

Gehry’s tower will overtake the 140-meter tall Colonia Tower in Cologne, currently Germany’s tallest residential skyscraper, according to Hines.