The project’s brief called for the combination of an usually wide range of programs, including the headquarters of a major German real estate company, retail spaces, and apartments. In response, Meier Partners reimagined the traditional European courtyard building as an ideal organizational strategy, uniting these various functions within an exterior that reads as a continuous and evenly articulated shell while simultaneously allowing for an internal organization that provides the maximum benefits for each program in both plan and section.
The building is defined throughout by spacious, light-flooded interiors with ceiling-height doors and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding city, the Elbe River, and the nearby port. Each floor of the building is a study in balance, combining this transparency and generous natural lighting with the various degrees of privacy and opacity required for each of the specific programs. As a unified whole, the architectural ensemble makes a major contribution to the redevelopment of Hamburg’s HafenCity district and to the skyline of the city.
The courtyard itself—the heart of the building—is conceived as an atrium that serves as both a central circulation core and as an urban living room, in the tradition of grand hotel lobbies. Its ceiling divides the public domain (shops and cafés) below from the private functions (residential and office spaces) above, yet also unifies them through the medium of natural light.