Berlin to build car-free housing and tech district on former airport

Image credit: Tegel Projekt

Work is set to begin on a project that will see Berlin’s former Tegel Airport turned into a technological research hub, residential district, and nature reserve.

Named Berlin TXL – the Urban Tech Republic – the development will include a research park, a landscaped area, and a residential area called the ‘Schumacher Quartier’.

The residential area will be a car-free district that will house up to 10,000 people.

Construction on the five-square-kilometre site is set to begin later this year, with completion of the first residential district set for 2027.

The project is led by the State of Berlin, which commissioned Tegel Projekt with the development and management of Berlin TXL and Schumacher Quartier.

‘Sustainable, liveable space’

Commenting on the development, Tegel Projekt said: “This new blueprint for future city living will become available in the neighbouring areas from now on…TXL – The Urban Tech Republic – is a unique initiative in Europe at the present time, if not in the whole world.”

Tegel Projekt GmbH chief executive officer Philipp Bouteiller said: “In Berlin, as in many other cities, there is a shortage of affordable housing – this causes people with lower incomes to be pushed out of the inner cities.

“Our vision is different: Berlin TXL should not be a place for a high-income clientele only, but a sustainable, liveable space for people of all ages and regardless of their income.”

The company says Schumacher Quartier – which will be located to the west of the airport tunnel – is an environmentally friendly, smart city.

The area is set to have an array of housing options, including student housing, of which 10% of units will be reserved.

The development would include schools, daycare centres, shopping facilities and public spaces while a “low-energy network” would supply Berlin TXL with sustainable heating and cooling.

The car-free district will also have its own bicycle lanes and bicycle highways, building on a campaign by Berlin Autofrei to make Berlin’s centre the largest car-free urban area in the world.

German architecture studio Von Gerkan, Marg, and Partners Architects (GMP), which designed the original brutalist buildings at the airport, will renovate the old hexagonal terminal buildings into the new research park.

Tegel Project said: “In the Urban Tech Republic around 1,000 large and small businesses with 20,000 employees will work in research, development and production.

“The green technologies of the future that are developed and produced in the Urban Tech Republic will be used in Schumacher Quartier.”

Roughly half of the entire space will be set aside as a nature reserve, with Grün Berlin responsible for the landscape development.

The brutalist Tegel Airport, which was given landmark status in 2019, had been on the brink of closure since 2011, while the city waited for the completion and opening of the Berlin Brandenburg Airport.

Image: CGI rendering of the Tegel Project. Credit: Tegel Projekt


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