Nathan Hemming






My master thesis in architecture project looked at the potential of an abandoned industrial site along the river Spree in Berlin. The Eisfabrik, built in the early 1900s, was an ice factory where large blocks of ice were produced for the city of Berlin. It was also home to a series of storage facilities that were kept cold through compression machines in the Eisfabrik. All operations ceased in the mid 1990s and since then the site has become derelict. This project highlights the unique architectural character of the Spree and contributes to its further development. First and foremost the project operates from the idea of landscape as the driving force behind architecture, and opens up an extremely valuable resource, that of the waterfront, to the public of the city of Berlin.

-msa | münster school of architecture, 2012

Architecture Analysis: Existing building stock

Detailed drawings of the buildings at the Eisfabrik site were created through the study of various documents at the historical preservation office of Berlin, as well as my own photos and measurements on site. These analysis diagrams were part of a series that described the existing situation in terms of light, access, building function, and constructive condition.

City block analysis + Design

The entire city block from the Michaelbrücke to the Schillingbrücke was analysed in detail, through study of the current city plan as well as existing conditions and my on-site observations. Enjoying direct access to the waterfront, this block has the potential to become a valuable resource for the city. With the over-development and privatisation of the waterfront further along the Spree through the Mediaspree Project, this project took the stance of opening the waterfront up to the city and its residents in the form of a public park. The potential to build a 25-30m wide waterfront park is possible without having to destroy any existing buildings. Also of interest are a series of industrial buildings along the waterfront, that can be further integrated in to the park concept. This project then proposed a new city plan for the block along the Spree, including a series of new building volumes that will be pushed away from the waterfront, in order to have room for the waterfront park. New streets were designed to provide access to the new building volumes, which will be integrated with regards to the existing building stock. The result is a vibrant, denser city block with a unique waterfront park that connects the two bridges over the Spree; the Michaelbrücke and Schillingbrücke.

Landscape + Site Program

The park landscape was then extended in to the site of the Eisfabrik, to define and shape architectural operations. The existing buildings present at the site will be renovated and two new buildings were proposed to complete the site. The largest new building touches the ground on both the side of the Spree and the Köpenicker Straße - in order to build a link between the street and the river as well as to provide access to a unique roof landscape continuing over much of the Eisfabrik site. This roof landscape is a combination of outlook points and green spaces, with a series of new walls for the display of art work. The current state of the Eisfabrik as a home for graffiti was not ignored, rather much more surface area was generated for graffiti artists to continue their work. Programatically the site will be a mixture of small business space and artist studios, as well as a series of shops and exhibition spaces.

Detail Design Eisfabrik

Through the combination of old und new architecture and the new programmatic elements at the Eisfabrik, the site will become an active place of exchange and production. The building will be transformed in to a series of gallery spaces, both highlighting the history of the Eisfabrik and the methods of ice production, as well as new art that will be produced on site. Through a new artist residency program artists will be able to live at the site and produce site-specific work to be displayed in the Eisfabrik building. The glass atrium space serves to bring light in to the building as well as a three story exhibition room. The existing tower will be reconfigured to house the main circulation core of the building.