Signal Iduna Headquarter

Competition 1st Prize - Hamburg, 2004


The original overall urban concept of City Nord is integrated into the design as a "large scale administration building, resting as a monumental solitaire in a parkland". Not at all does "solitaire" mean ignoring the urban space. A balance between the self-contained construction volume and a well-defined surrounding area is needed. The building structure is supposed to be subtly entwined together with its environment.

The layout is based on an isosceles triangle, which is aligned with the Überseering, one of its borders running parallel to the road. The boulevard-like shape of the latter one is underlined, at the same time a connection to a high rise building, lying more southerly, is achieved. When contemplating the installation from the northern side, the triangle's north-eastern edge points towards Kapstadtring, forming an ideal connection to Kapstadtring's building 8. In the following step of elicitation, rectangular cuts are undertaken on the triangular figure. Thereby emerges an incisive square and north-east's entrance area, forming an entity with the entrée of "Oval Office" and "Haus der Wirtschaft" beyond Kapstadtring. Synergy effects for all three buildings are created, a new urban nucleus with a remarkable location appears. In the inner corners, fire would be prevented from spreading by reason of the edges' round shapes. At the same time, the residential units beside the processed core are not concerned by the new installations due to horizontal operation possibilities.

A rotationally symmetric layout of a huge potential for being used for image purposes and identification is risen. Its outline emerges as its signet. The building receives its completion on top and bottom by particular incisions at the construction's upper levels. On the ground floor, the areas of entrance, supply and terrace emerge accentedly. The upper storeys gain additional quality through generous winter gardens.

The park landscape, originally designed as a flowing green area, is redefined and clarified according to the current thinking. Deliberately connected entities and vast green areas bearing bright atmosphere are formed in the open space. The outstanding solitaire building is situated at the interface of a broad, south-oriented green area of the terrain's south and the distinctive square and entrance area in the north. The office building keeps aloof of the high street Überseering, still preserving the eastern row of the typical plane trees that are integrated into the place as a canopy of trees. Thus, the boulevard is directly attached to Überseering. The underground parking's dimensions are calculated in such a way that the preservation of the old trees in the east is allowed, them forming a venerable ending of the terrain. (Architectural competition 2004)