The new event space is part of Berlin’s campus for changemakers and sits within one of Europe’s oldest film studios

Designed by Netherlands-based practice MVRDV, TON1 is a flexible event space at Atelier Gardens in Berlin, Germany. 

The project involved the transformation of one of the oldest studios in Europe – the home of German cinema for over 100 years – Berliner Union Film Ateliers (BUFA).

Situated on the southern edge of the former Tempelhof Airport, the space promotes social entrepreneurship for organisations who are reshaping their respective sectors with a focus on human and planetary wellbeing.

Organisations already based on site include Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future, tech-enabled urban farming companies and the Danish alternative business school Kaospilot+.

The six-acre site comprises five historic film studios and a host of other buildings and public spaces. The historic function of the site was retained with film-making elements consolidated within one part, while the remaining buildings were repurposed into a flexible mix of work and event spaces.

With the intent of expanding the lifespan of the building whilst preserving its history, MVRDV devised a system of overhead lights and curtain railings, transforming the building’s usability but leaving the original listed brick structure untouched.

The curtain system shapes the layout and allows for the creation of spaces with different layers of privacy – meaning a large company gathering could take place in one part of the studio, while a smaller workshop could take place in another.

Other features of the building have been updated, with new interior finishes and a more efficient ventilation system.

Nature has been reintroduced via a biodiversity and re-greening strategy by British landscape designer Harris Bugg Studio. Large areas of concrete have been broken up and planted, eliminating vehicles and adding water permeability and biodiversity with rooftop gardens and green plazas.

Other sustainability measures include eco-toilets, rainwater collection and water recycling, and improved natural ventilation.

Jacob van Rijs, founding partner at MVRDV, said: “In the way it combines the long film-making heritage of BUFA with an energetic new approach, Atelier Gardens will be a model for how to adapt and remain relevant in our ever-changing society. Our goal with the architecture was to reflect this spirit – at once respecting the site’s history and sustainably preserving the heritage structures, while also bringing an exciting transformation.”

Project details

Lead architect MVRDV
Architect Hirschmüller Schindele Architekten
Investor and developer Fabrix 
Landscaper Harris Bugg Studio
Location Berlin, Germany