The energy of the current ‘village square’ defies the site’s difficult past. In the early 1990s, the former Berlin city center stood desolate and empty, still burdened by its recent history as the dividing line between east and west Berlin. The Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) was charged with master-planning a large portion of the area and returning it to its former vibrancy. Eight of the 18 buildings provided for in the master plan were designed by RPBW, including the Debis tower.
The fragmented massing of this structure –- vaguely ship-like in its overall shape -- adds dynamic form to the new streetscape. To anchor the building to a more traditional past, terra cotta cladding is used in addition to the more familiar modern glass curtain wall.