The Berlin luxury department store is being treated to a face-lift. At a cost of 180 million euro (192.6 $) it is to be made fit for the future. The first building phase will be completed in time for Christmas shopping.
The Kaufhaus des Westens, also known as KaDeWe, is much more than just a well assorted department store. As continental Europe's largest department store it is internationally known and often named along with London's Harrods or Galeries Lafayette in Paris.
Now the first part of the renovation work, which is expected to take years, is complete. The window facade is to look the way it did when the imposing store was opened in 1907: it will now measure 4.50 meters (14.7 ft.), making it twice as high as the current two meters dating back a few decades. The windows have been given rounded arches again. Behind them shoppers can delight the Christmas window display including elves busily making gifts.
While business continues the rebuild is expected to continue until the 2022. The 60.000 square meters of department store are to be divided into four separate fashion areas. Each section will e accessible via the main entrance but also have its own entrance and escalator. The architects have come up with an ingenious idea for the roof of the KaDeWe building: it will be transformed into a glass rooftop extension which will span the entire seventh floor. The restaurants, bars and roof-garden under this glass roof are to remain opened even after the store has closed. They will therefore also be given their own separate entrance.
The modernization of this protected century-old department store building on Wittenbergplatz square is being headed by star architect Rem Koolhaas.