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Cute, cozy, commonplace, quaint and nondescript – these would be apt descriptors for the rather ordinary-looking one-and-two-story brick row houses in this German industrial neighborhood. Sticking out in stark contemporary contrast, a curiously-tilted concrete box hangs out over the front facade of one such structure and sets it strongly apart from the surrounding buildings.

The new addition by Platzhalter Architektur follows from a remodel of the roof into a functional wooden deck with metal railings, which wraps outward and cantilevers over the sidewalk before ‘turning into’ the larger enclosed concrete volume of the new second-floor space. An entirely-transparent glass wall (with sliding glass doors) eliminates the visual barrier between the outdoors patio area and interior second-story common room.

Large cut-out voids for floor-to-ceiling and partial-skylight windows, combined with the light-colored concrete, make this added piece seem almost entirely the opposite of the existing story it sits upon – yet the overall scale and simplicity of the design makes them feel like parts of a hybrid whole rather than disparate non-matching pieces stuck together. In short, by not ‘over-designing’ the addition the entire work makes for a coherent and unified new building.