Office building in histrotic context - Hamburg, Germany, 2008

Challenge: the Colonnaden sits directly in the center of Hamburg’s historic quarter. The challenge was to create a new and fully modern office building that also “fits” into this late 19th century historic urban environment. To achieve this, we combined a comprehensive understanding of the historic semantics of architecture and planning in 19th century Hamburg with leading-edge innovations in design, technology, and materials.  

The cladding material is a coated glass specially developed for this purpose. Although the building is quite transparent on the inside, it appears heavy and solid on the outside, consistent with the surrounding stone. In addition the design elements mirror and reinterpret the grammar of their historic counterparts. The façade, for example, is classically articulated, with a base, middle, and attic floor. We also reinterpreted the bay window that was typical of the 19th century. 

Inside, the building is designed to maximize light and views in all spaces and also to maximize flexibility of use. The façade is fully operable, allowing air and light into the building. Lateral openings allow generous visibility in all areas of the main floor. Each office has a view along the Colonnades from the bay windows. Two interior staircases allow the client to combine and expand spaces as needs require.