The Sony Center's impressive pioneering architecture is a striking point of contrast that blends wonderfully into its surroundings on Potsdamer Platz. The design by Helmut Jahn impresses with its transparent and airy concept that, among other things, uses a variety of different glass façades. The somewhat idiosyncratic light-flooded roof structure above the bustling courtyard itself lives from light created by sophisticated light reflections and refractions. The complex of buildings has since become one of Berlin's internationally recognized landmarks and attracts many visitors – particularly young people.
The Sony Center's different uses is characteristic of the location: Private apartments, public space, bars and restaurants, hotels and office premises are to be found in a generous area that extends across more than 132,000 m². It is the location for Sony's headquarters in Germany and the venerable Esplanade Hotel presents itself there in new splendour following its extensive renovation and restoration. RIVA's predecessor – Götz – was responsible for carrying out almost all the façade work at the Sony Center. Due to the fact that the Esplanade Hotel's substance had not been designed to take additional loads, it had to retreat entirely behind a façade structure made entirely from glass and steel – just as if had been placed in a huge glass showcase.
The 1.5 mm thick formed stainless-steel sheets with their brushed and finely polished finishes represent additional recurring façade elements. They may, among other things, be seen in the elliptical forum where their zigzag contours create an impression of wave movements and thus underline the overall impression.
Vertical glass fins reinforce the glass façades. Narrow strips of shaped stainless-steel sheet made especially for the Sony Center divide the floor-to-ceiling glass panels. With a depth of just 135 mm, this façade design was used on the office tower at Potsdamer Platz, the Sony building and Sanofi-Synthelabo's offices.
“The spatial dynamic and variety contrasts with the minimized design and technological character of the building structures. Built mainly of glass, the seven buildings exploit the characteristic features of this material such as transparency and permeability to light.”
(Helmut Jahn, Architect)