In news that comes just days after MRVDV pulled the curtain back on a revamp of the historic Berliner Union Film Ateliers (BUFA) film and television studio complex, Studio Libeskind has shared its plans for a 23-acre office park at the Filmpark Babelsberg in the nearby city of Potsdam. Established in 1912 (the same year as BUFA), Filmpark Babelsberg is the world’s oldest large-scale film production facility and the largest studio complex in Europe at roughly 5 million square feet.
Led by developer Jan Kretzschmar of KWDevelopment, the mixed-use Media City complex would span five “human-scaled” buildings, including a 216-foot-tall circular office tower alongside a quartet of longer, lower-slung buildings rising 144 and 72 feet.
“The design of the five buildings is inspired by the forms associated with filmmaking: stacked 70- millimeter film reels; camera apertures; and lenses. The building ensemble is intended to further secure the development of Babelsberg as a world-renowned film and media location,” said Daniel Libeskind in a statement. “I am delighted to be able to now turn this design into reality together with KWDevelopment and the city of Potsdam.”
The four shorter buildings would directly front the street at the intersection of Großbeerenstrasse/August-Bebel-Strasse, while the site-anchoring tower behind them would allow for a swath of open space to be created between the two at a “fallow and undeveloped” site next to Filmpark Babelsberg’s “Action Volcano,” an arena that hosts stunt shows, and diagonally across from the Potsdam-Medienstadt Babelsberg train station.
Kretzschmar acquired the site from Filmpark Babelsberg last year, in the latest development by the developer and studio owner, Friedhelm Schatz, including a mixed-use development within the studio complex at Marlene-Dietrich-Allee. The roughly $341 million project, which will be reviewed by Potsdam’s city council in early December following the recent recommendation of Studio Libeskind’s design concept by the city’s building committee, is expected to create 5,000 jobs and “thus stabilize the media location in the long term and enable international development,” per a press release.
“The future tenants are to come from the media industry. Therefore, in addition to offices, rooms for post-production, sound and gaming are also planned, because the need is there,” said Kretzschmar. “But public uses will also bring life to the new quarter, for example through restaurants and rehearsal rooms for music groups.”
The list of notable international productions that have filmed at Filmpark Babelsberg is expansive, with more recent titles including The Hunger Games films, Inglorious Basterds, Grand Budapest Hotel, Atomic Blonde, and The Matrix Resurrections. Like other major studio compounds that have announced significant overhauls in recent months, Filmpark Babelsberg hopes to better accommodate the demand for precious soundstage space to film original content for streaming services like Hulu and Netflix along with post-production facilities and office space—a demand that’s only increased in intensity since the pandemic.
“The streaming services in particular are expanding their business more and more and need not only more content, but also locations where it can be produced. With our project, we can create the right conditions for this,” explained Kretzschmar.