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Herbert-Wehner-Haus / JWA

Herbert-Wehner-Haus / JWA

Half parking area, half flowering urban field – this was the appearance of the Packhof (stockyard) site in the old city center of Dresden for a long time. For years the derelict yet prime-location piece of land was earmarked to become an art district, as a contemporary-progressive counterpart to the historical and reconstructed buildings of the city center. But the development of the Packof site stagnated, while subplots continued to be sold off.   

Ph: Simon Menges

Konzentration GmbH, an in-house SPD company, purchased a parcel of land from a Munich investor in 2015 and commissioned JWA with the planning of the Herbert-Wehner-Haus, which in the meantime has been handed over to the occupants. The first cornerstone of the new neighborhood is home to the Herbert and Greta Wehner Foundation, the Saxony Workers’ Welfare Association, and the Saxony branch of the SPD. On the ground floor, which is jointly used, is a public area with rooms for events and exhibitions.  

Ph: Simon Menges

“Unity in Diversity” is the axiom that underlies all the architectural thinking for this cooperative building venture, its members focused together on the public common good. With its exposed-concrete structure and the precisely set load-bearing framework, the building provides a setting for individual locations on each story. In interaction with the occupancies, the structure and the material create varying atmospheres and fuse them into a single architectural entity. 

This play of rules and interpretations is rounded off by the facade (designed by Hinrichs Wilkening Architekten, Berlin). The precast concrete elements, with an inner and an outer shell of exposed concrete, were industrially prefabricated, set on-site, and then grouted together. The inner shell corresponds with the exposed concrete of the structural framework, which was executed in cast-in-situ concrete. Finished with reddish aggregate on the outermost layer, the hue of the building can be read as a reference to the political roots and objectives of the users, while the final sandblasting of the concrete facade reinforces the hand-made character of the building.

Ph: Till Schuster

Following the 2020 revision of the project-based zoning plan, the originally envisioned adjoining art district will now be replaced by a large administration complex of the Free State of Saxony. The Herbert-Wehner-Haus is ready for its new neighbors.

Ph: Simon Menges

DATE: 2019 / LOCATION: Dresden, Germany / AREA: m2 (built) / PROGRAM: office building / STATUS: built / DESIGN: JWA / FAÇADE DESIGN: HINRICHS WILKENING ARCHITEKTEN / PHOTOS: Simon Menges, Till Schuster (building site)

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