David Chipperfield Architects has converted an old winter storage used for boats into a private studio in Berlin, Germany. The house originally designed by the architect Robert Tepez in 1970 and is located on the lake serving a winter storage for boats belonging to berlin’s water rescue services.

The building is comprised of a terraced volume, the two-storey reinforced concrete structure is integrated into the sloping topography of the site. David Chipperfield Architects berlin converted the building into a private studio with linear facade divisions and transparency, which obtains a naive appearance and unity in the exterior.

The design not only gives the formally solid-looking boathouse a new transparent identity, the overall property gains the impression of a garden landscape, integrating the wilhelminian villa at the top of the site’s hill and strengthening its appearance.

While the shell construction of the former boathouse was preserved, it was given a new external skin. clad primarily with timber elements on the sides, the front elevation opens up to the banks of the lake with a second outer façade made of timber and glass with steel profiles.

Through generous floor-to-ceiling windows, the original concrete volume remains visible, creating a dialogue between the existing and the new additions. The garden, which was re-landscaped within the context of the boathouse conversion, frames the building.

The use of timber in a light green tone further embeds the building in its natural surroundings. The colour tone, a reseda green, is the connecting feature of all other structural elements in the garden, including the jetty.

The exterior skin with its transparent appearance allows daylight to permeate the studio’s interior and encourages a flowing transition between inside and out. The building was gutted for the conversion and the floor plans reorganised.

The raw concrete surfaces remain visible and are supplemented in places by plastered interior walls. The former six metre high boat hall stretches over both floors and forms the heart of the new studio.

Site Plan

Front elevation



Project Facts

Project start: 2011

Completion: 2015

Gross floor area: 810 m2

Client: Private

Architect: David Chipperfield Architects Berlin

Partners in charge: David Chipperfield, Martin Reichert, Alexander Schwarz (design lead)

Project architect: Christof Piaskowski

Landscape architect: Mania Lohrengel Landschaftsarchitektur

Structural engineer: Igb Ingenieurgruppe Bauen

Site supervision: Thomas Hillig Architekten

All images © Ute Zscharnt Für David Chipperfield Architects

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