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Getting Started: Claudia Zirra Appointed New Head of Construction and Engineering Department


reading time: approx.  min

On January 1, 2022, architect Claudia Zirra took the reins at the Construction and Engineering department of the SPK. In this interview, she describes her first days on the job and shows us her “first-day photo”.

What did you do on your first day at work?

On my first day at the Foundation, I went to the Villa von der Heydt to say hello to Mr. Dimter, and then I went to my office in Stauffenbergstrasse, where I was greeted with flowers and received a very warm welcome from my new co-workers. After introducing myself and meeting people, I familiarized myself with organizational information and some of the department's upcoming work. The office equipment and phone had to be set up; there were emails to download and appointments to make, so my first day on the job went by very quickly with all of that.

Porträt einer Frau

Claudia Zirra Appointed New Head of Construction and Engineering Department. © Monbijou Berlin

What is the biggest item on your to-do list as you take up this new position?

It's getting to know the SPK in all its facets – in particular, the work and plans of its various institutions and their general set-up, any of which could have a direct or indirect impact on building and maintenance work at the SPK. Of course, these institutions include several high-profile properties, and I’ll be looking at the work that has been done on them in the past, as well as any construction projects now underway or planned for the future. And last but not least, the staff, who may be working in different positions and with different processes but are all dedicated to achieving the SPK’s objectives – their knowledge and experience are very important to me and will be very valuable.

Topfplanze auf einem Fensterbrett
This linden tree is a native Berliner (b. 2012). It spent a few years at the Federal Ministry for Building and a few years in Bavaria before making its way back to Berlin last year. It was then just a short trip from the district of Wedding to Zirra's SPK office in the Tiergarten district. © Claudia Zirra

What is the first goal that you want to work toward over the medium term?

I have three main points, all of which are high priorities for the Foundation's management, and work will be started on all of them concurrently: the organizational plan for construction within the SPK; the implementation of the special investment program for building upkeep involving tens of millions of euros; and sustainability in construction and facilities operation.