Europe’s largest department store is set to get a modern makeover. OMA was recently selected to renovate the Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe), a gigantic historic mall in Berlin that opened nearly one hundred years ago at the turn of the 20th century. OMA’s designs will break up the mammoth, city-like KaDeWe into four accessible and unique quadrants tailored to the needs of the modern shopper.
Founded in 1905, KaDeWe currently offers over 60,000 square meters of retail space across eight floors, each featuring a different type of merchandise. OMA will divide the original mass into four components that will each serve as an independent department store targeted at a different audience. Each quadrant will face a different street entrance and will be organized around a central atrium, the shape of which will vary depending on the quadrant.
“Through a process closer to the one of curating rather than designing, each void is developed specifically to offer four kinds of distinct spatial experiences and four efficient models of organization,” writes OMA. “Throughout the nine levels of the building the voids transform in size and extension, avoiding any repetition and making every floor unique: they disappear on the ground floor, morph through the commercial areas, and – in one case only – reach the new rooftop.”
OMA will also replace the original vaulted rooftop restaurant with a sculptural glass extension to add an extra level of retail. The new glass volume will connect the two “most adventurous” atriums — the circular and concentric-shaped atriums — and offer expansive views of Berlin. “The particular configuration of the new rooftop leaves an open air courtyard between the new architectural insert and the rest of the building,” writes OMA. “The resulting irregularly shaped courtyard provides a space for outdoor programs and unveils simultaneously the most exciting and yet most secret spaces of KaDeWe: its food laboratories.”
Images via OMA