Konsum Karwe

Once a location for the former GDR cooperative supermarket chain Konsum (German for ‘consumption’), the building in Karwe, a small village located at lake Neuruppin in Brandenburg, had been an abandoned ruin for 25 years before it was refurbished.

The body of the existing structure remains intact, complemented by a new roof and a transparent envelop. The new glass facade and roof now provide the necessary isolation for the existing structure.

The surrounding layer offers additional space with no set function. This way the house can shrink and grow according to the number of family members and guests using the house, the time of the day, and the seasons.

The roof of the supermarket’s former sales room has been removed, making way for an open courtyard that becomes a central space for the building, connecting all other rooms and the green roof garden, the only place to enjoy a view to the nearby lake.

Located centrally within the town, the building can remain an active element of village life. Rather than turning the house exclusively into a private property in its function as a family vacation home, the design aims at blurring the boundaries between public and private space. The building can easily be transformed back into public space by way of multiple options in the future.

The design is based on reusing existing structures, working with sustainable contemporary materials, and implementing ecological solutions, such as geothermal heating and a rain water collecting system. Most materials used in the process remain raw and untreated, so as to comply with the concept of a circular system. Previously sealed surfaces have been re-opened, enabling a natural draining system and the collection of rainwater.

in collaboration with Studio Other Spaces
Olafur Eliasson und Sebastian Behmann

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