Berlin photographer Michael Schulz, better known by his digital alias @berlinstagram, took SLEEK on a trip in a brand new Porsche 911 to explore the vernacular architectural marvels of Brandenburg. Read below for all the details behind his favourite structural sights.
With its sprawling plateaus, luscious pastures, and majestic rivers, the German state of Brandenburg is more than just the commuter belt of nearby Berlin. Hailed by architects including Arno Brandlhuber and Thomas Köhler, the renaissance of architectural development in Germany’s northeastern corner continues to be far removed from the impersonal prefab settlements that populate the former GDR district. Expertly designed, lavishly rendered, and highly individual, these homes epitomise the spirit of Brandenburg in the 21st century. In cooperation with Porsche, SLEEK sent Berlin-based photographer Michael Schultz of Berlinstagram in one of their Miami-blue sportscars to snap five houses that best represent this new era.
Gut Fergitz by Ferdinand von Hohenzollern
Tucked away on the seaside of Brandenburg’s lake Oberuckersee are the three houses that make up Gut Fergitz, structures defined by their multilayered exteriors. Texturally, they combine warm wood panelling and exposed brick with cream paintwork – a colour also shared by their interiors. The single-story buildings also feature rectangular porches and nooks, adding an depths to their carefully composed profiles.
Pavilions by Thomas Krüger
“We wanted to work with a design that did not appear massive, as the area and the adjacent lake are truly beautiful,” says Krüger of his Pavilions project. The estate pairs a hexagonal house with a separate cubic counterpart, the striking pointy roof of the former countered by the subtle curves and lines of the latter. Three of the walls in the hexagonal home are lined with windows, offering the owners a romantic view of the lake as well as the nearby cherry tree orchards and greenhouses. “There is a fourth view,” says Krüger. “The skies here are incredibly dark, opening up to an enormous and impressive starry sky. This is why there is a wizard’s hat-shaped roof, so you can enjoy the stars while laying in bed. Again, form follows and informs function. I guess I quite like that.”
Blaues Haus by Hütten und Paläste
With an unmistakable cobalt coating, the Blaues Haus lives up to its name. The team at Hütten & Paläste equipped the striking home with a series of irregularly sized windows that capitalise on the tree-free property, coating the interior with rich, natural light. Like Brandlhuber’s Antivilla, the Blaues Haus creates space through division. The interior exists as a single room with a larger living space on the lower floor and a sequestered upper level for sleeping. Blocky support beams and an elongated stairwell split the area into more digestible volumes; the three-paneled roof tapers up toward the lofted bed, offering privacy and coziness.
Schwarze Haus by Thomas Krüger
Berlin-based architect Thomas Krüger favours unconventional silhouettes and floorplans – and the Schwarzes Haus, his creation in Brandenburg, is no exception. The ground floor exists as a long single room, with fixtures and furnishings segmenting its dimensions . Its minimal design, with simple wood panelling lining all four external walls, gives it a smart, utilitarian and warm aesthetic. A matte black rooftop unassumingly adorns Krüger’s design so as not to distract from the serene scenery that surrounds the Schwarze Haus. “I would say that this is form following function,” he says. “But its appearance—the chimney, dormer windows, facade, and detailing—could also be form informing function.”
Antivilla by Arno Brandlhuber
Berlin-based architect Arno Brandlhuber first discovered the thick-walled concrete home that would later become the Antivilla while texting artist Thomas Demand. Upon realizing that the former GDR lingerie factory would soon be demolished, Brandlhuber bought the land and transformed it into a multi-functional living space and atelier. “The Antivilla reuses and rethinks the critic Reyner Banham ideas from ‘Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment’ by combining his two distinct principles of generating space,” says Brandlhuber. “The existing structure represents the constructional aspect; the climactic gradation represents the energetic aspect.” In layman’s terms, the largely unaltered exterior references Brutalism’s uncommunicative facades, while the revamped interior offers a is energy efficient and climate-conscious. After stripping the building of its gabled roof and adding a flat concrete slab in its stead, the architect removed all non-load-bearing walls from the interior to create an open floorplan perfect for the balmy Brandenburg summer. During winter, a thick curtain can be drawn, dividing the 250-square-meter space into cosier sections.
All photos by Michael Schulz