Sheet Lightning Cafeteria

Cafeteria, Conversion, 2005-08

The cafeteria was built as part of the new master plan for the redesign of TU Berlin’s main building. It connects the two courtyards of the listed building and gives them new purpose. The lining of the cafeteria’s ceiling is the centerpiece of the design and consists of eight luminescent textile elements: “light drops,“ which ensure the basic lighting of the cafeteria and also focused lighting of the individual tables. They are also acoustic absorbers. The color of the light drops is determined by the season—the warmer the outside temperature, the cooler the light color. The red-orange trays, stools and chairs can be carried into the courtyards in good weather, as so-called “climate change elements.”

User Participation
At the beginning of the project, a questionnaire was created based on the model of semantic differentials with regard to operation and service, food and drink prices, furnishings and ambience. On a seven-point scale—(-3) to (+3)—a selection could be made between two adjectives or two photographs with contrasting atmospheric value. In addition, the students were asked what they liked to do most in the cafeteria—eat, flirt, work—and how they do it: sitting, standing, reclining, crouching, sprawling, et cetera. The spread of the results regarding which of these qualities and activities are most desired led to a design that changes with the weather, and thus offers visitors different experiences throughout the year.

Project team

Susanne Hofmann, Martin Janekovic, Marlen Kärcher, Monica Wurfbaum


Mario Bär, Christian Baalß, Tobias Bernecker, Anne Doose, Julian Fissler, Patrick Hoffmann, Denitsa Ilieva, Christoph Jantos, Jens Kärcher, Eva Kanagasabai, Martin Mohelnicky, Mari Pape, Elena Pavlidou-Reisig, Simone Sexauer, Helen Ströh, Benedikt Tulinius, Katya Vangelova, Ines Wegner, Ivonne Weichold


Pichler Ingenieure GmbH (Structural Engineer), pin planende ingenieure GmbH (Building Services)


Technical University of Berlin

Costs/Gross floor area

900.000 EUR gross/224 m²

Work stage

LPH 2-8, participation


TU Berlin Main Building
Straße des 17. Juni 135
10623 Berlin Charlottenburg

Photographer Jan Bitter