Roofgarden for "Refugio Sharehouse"

Sharehaus Refugio Berlin - Refugee Community House

From summer 2015 we have been working with the Sharehouse Refugio, a house where people who have lost their homes or were forced to flee can find a new home. The Refugio is a joint project of the Sharehaus and the Berlin City Mission e.V.  at Lenaustrasse 3-4 in Berlin Neukölln.

The Refugio provides refuge, community and renewal for people of differnt cultures. At the Sharehaus Refugio they encourage each other to develop unique skills and talents. A coaching program is run for helping to learning German, getting a good job or a meaningful education.Everyone in the house commits themselves to an individual program, they offer their skills and talents to the Refugio itself and the surrounding neighborhood. Refugio offers co-working and workshops and develops social enterprises and networks with likeminded initiatives.

The inhabitants live in private rooms and share communal spaces and organise their daily community life together. Together they operate an upcycling café in the foyer and a neighborhood market in the large hall. On the rooftop terrace they can organise events, celebrations, grow food, eat together or find a peaceful garden space for relaxing.

The Landscape Architecture students at the TU-Berlin have now been assigned the task of designing this rooftop space and implementing the first construction phase. The design and construction detailing will take place in close collaboration with the clients and inhabitants of the house throughout the winter semester of 2015.

Technical Description

Dominant elements of the central garden area are the five polygonal raised beds, which by their orientation and shape create informal paths and spaces. The planting area focus on the north side of the roof, where a framed view point is generated. The raised beds have wooden frames that vary in width and height and from which also offer additional seating. In the beds both productive and ornamental plants will be cultivated. Since the use of higher planting for creating space is not feasible (due to wind etc.), we have developed a a system of  ornamental spatial screens. They support the creation of additional sub-spaces with a high amenity value for groups or individual use. Between the raised beds a walkable extensive green roof will allow plants to grow on less frequented areas, this will allow for dynamic ornamental aspects that adjust to use. The terraces will be made of wood, the wooden boards will be secured from below so that the screws will not be visible. The central path is made of an inconspicuously metal mesh set in the gravel, this allows for a secure pathway between the stairwells. A special emphasis is placed on using the existing materials and elements. The planting concept allows for existing plants to be used in the new beds, existing funiture will also be reused furniture and reused.



March 2016 - Construction works begin

Students have now started implementation works by painting the walls surrounding the roof garden. The roof structure and sealing membrane will be checked by a construction engineer before the main construction works can begin. Preparation works for the terraces will begin in the in-house workshop.

Feb. 2016: In-House Carpenter agrees to manage the construction works

The construction works will be conducted by Alexander Tiller assisted by Refugio house occupants, students of the TU Berlin and many other helpers. Alexander is a carpenter who currently lives in the sharehouse and has agreed to manage the construction works for a very reasonable fee.


Sharehouse Refugio Berlin. Leben und Arbeiten mit Geflüchteten
Sven Lager
Collaborating Organisations
Project Implementation
Kristina Schönwälder

Academic Discipline(s)
Landscape Architecture
25 Students
Academic Level(s)
Academic Facts

Site / Structure Dimension
Rooftop space ca. 200m2
In Kind
Power Tools from FESTOOL
Other Budget
Corperate and private donations
Project Start
Project Context
Project Type
Other Project Type
Outdoor roof garden
Sports / Play / Recreation | Other Function
Other Function
Social space, celebrating, eating and integration
Construction Methods/Techniques