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2000 – Sony Centre, Berlin

Architect: Helmut Jahn

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The Sony Centre on Berlin’s historic Potsdamer Platz consists of a complex of buildings grouped around a central atrium. Eight individual buildings are used for offices, apartments, large cinemas and a museum of fine art.

The center is relatively lowrise (8-10 storeys) in height with one tall block at the edge facing onto Potsdamer Platz. As the visitor walks between the blocks, the spaces are intimate until entering into the central plaza leads the eye upwards to the tented structure which encloses the space. This area is used by cafes and bars to cater for cinemagoers, workers and tourists to the Film Museum. It is an awe-inspiring space.

According to Jahn: “In the reconstruction of Berlin, the Sony Centre stands for a new technical vision and order. Light, both natural and artificial, is the essence of the design. The Sony Centre is luminous, not illuminated. The glass facades and roof act as a fabric that moderates the natural and artificial light. With its characteristics of transparency of permeability to light, reflection and refraction, there is a constant change of images and effect during day and night, affecting not only the appearance but also maximizing the comfort and minimizing the use of energy resources. The Sony Centre is a ‘Kulturform’ (a new form of culture) for the millennium where the serious business of entertainment is portrayed as the real challenge to the high arts of classical music, theatre and painting.”