Breathing a sigh of relief – behind the blinds
by Milenka Thomas | Jun 15, 2012

In Berlin’s Mitte district, architect Jürgen Mayer H. recently realized the very first architectural project in his chosen home city. Directly next to the museum island, an astonishing apartment block now shapes the face of the streets. The seven-storey apartment block is called “JOH3”, which derives from the address at Johannisstrasse 3.

The sculptural edifice is clad in a cloak of aluminum blinds that have two functions: They afford privacy on the inside and yet, thanks to the glass facade behind, with their round cut-out sections afford an almost unimpeded view outward. With its curvy silhouette “JOH3” is reminiscent of earlier designs by J. Mayer H. Architects. Organic shapes and rounded curves run like a red thread through the entire design, from the façade through the staircases and elevators to the apartment interiors.

At its heart, the block (it houses several apartments) is home to a greened inner courtyard and thus takes up the typical features of the classical Berlin tenement block. The new interpretation of the idea by J. Mayer H. Architects is destined to offer a natural retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Thus, the spacious owner-occupied flats all run from South to West, toward the tranquility of the inner courtyard. There are three different apartment typologies. Whether you go for the townhouse with its own private garden, the classic apartment or a penthouse with a view out over Friedrichstadt, you can be certain of one thing for sure: Given their different footprints, none of the 21 dwellings resembles one of the other. The ground floor will host retail spaces.

“JOH3” is the first construction project by J. Mayer H. Architects in Berlin, photo © Patricia Parinejad
“JOH3” is the first construction project by J. Mayer H. Architects in Berlin, photo © Patricia Parinejad
The name “JOH3” derives from the building’s address in the Johannisstraße 3, photo © Ludger Paffrath
View of the greened inner courtyard, photo © Ludger Paffrath
The residential areas follow an asymmetric floor-plan, photo © Ludger Paffrath
The blinds provide privacy inwards and visibility outwards, diagram © J. Mayer H. Architects
Round cutouts interrupt the façade, photo © Patricia Parinejad
The façade is made of aluminum blinds, photo © Patricia Parinejad
Organic forms run through the entire design concept, photo © Ludger Paffrath
Bathroom in one of the residential units, photo © Ludger Paffrath