Headquarters Hamburg Süd, Hamburg

How did we convert a heritage-listed post-War Modernist high-rise?

It’s a high-rise with a history: During the 1960s, architect Cäsar Pinnau brought American Modernism to Hamburg. The headquarters of the longstanding shipping company of Hamburg-Süd was one of the first high-rises in Germany to boast a glass curtain façade and is an homage to the world-famous Seagram Building in New York designed by the architect Mies van der Rohe. Rarely has Hamburg’s architecture been as cosmopolitan, refined, and elegant as it was at that time.

The process of close coordination with the municipal heritage authority paid off – the result is remarkable: Although the 1964 high-rise is listed, we completely removed the façade and replaced it with a new one. We stripped the tower down to its basic structure and beefed up its load-bearing elements. Since the new dual façade meant the high-rise would grow outwards, we also added another story to the tower. This way, we not only preserved the old proportions but also created valuable additional office space.

We saw it as an opportunity not a hindrance – as history deserves respect.

Project: Headquarters Hamburg Süd

Client: Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft KG

GFA: 29,000 m²

Storeys: 15

Height: 55 m

Completion: 06/2016

Awards: BDA Preis Hamburg 2018, 1st prize

Photos: Klaus Frahm

“We see listed buildings as an opportunity to tackle existing edifices with respect and longevity in mind.”

A makeover requiring sensitivity: In close consultation with the municipal heritage authority, we changed a great deal but largely preserved the original appearance of this heritage building. Our client can now enjoy modern office spaces and an extra story for office use in an optimal location.

Relevant themes from architecture and urban planning

Transforming Towers

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