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Design & Architecture

Hotel Wilmina Berlin: Liberated

An oasis of tranquility in the bustling heart of the metropolis. A place of contemplation and retreat, serving as a counterpoint to the bustling activities of the urban surroundings. The historically preserved ensemble, consisting of a former courthouse and a women’s prison, has been redesigned, expanded, and repurposed by the architects Grüntuch Ernst. It now houses the Hotel Wilmina, the Lovis Restaurant, and an art and cultural space called Amtsalon.

It is not unusual for buildings to be repurposed. It is more common for a prison to be turned into a guest house. Yet it would actually make sense to turn cells into rooms. The Hotel Wilmina and its two neighbouring buildings, Lovis and Amtsalon, are located in Berlin – and it couldn’t be more fitting. After all, the city is in a constant dialogue with its challenging past.

And this includes the former women’s prison with adjoining courthouse. The listed ensemble from the 19th century stood empty for a long time until the Berlin-based decided to acquire and transform it. The scars of the past were not simply lasered away, but rather sensitively removed.

The main reason for this was light. The small lattice windows were enlarged towards the bottom, while the bars at the top were retained. It was also necessary to open up the angled rooms. Small openings in the walls now provide a better overview. Lots of white and beige, light-coloured wood and the pendant lights from Bocci help the location to calm down.

The courthouse on the street side became the Amtsalon, an inviting art and culture centre. The former lock courtyard was given a roof, under which the Lovis restaurant is now located. And the inner courtyards, which connect all three areas, have been planted with ivy, vines, rice paper trees and winter horsetail, because nature, they say, has something conciliatory about it.

The interplay with the Architektur has succeeded in transforming a dark and labyrinthine ensemble into a bright and peaceful place that can finally leave the past behind and look to the future with confidence.

to the hotel
Berlin, Deutschland


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