Peek & Cloppenburg Department Store, Mannheim

A premium retail destination becomes a distinctive focal point for the city of Mannheim.

This department store for a major German retail brand is located on a prominent stretch of one of the Mannheim’s main thoroughfares, on a site between Stephanienstraße and Kufürstenstraße on the Boulevard Planken. The subtle volumetric modifications of the building’s massing create a harmonious dialogue with its urban environment, while the dynamic gesture of building’s curved front facade establishes a striking presence for Peek & Cloppenburg along this major pedestrian and shopping axis.

The building’s penthouse is stepped back in consideration of the height of adjacent buildings, and this sensitivity to context is evident throughout the design.  The building’s exterior is marked by the juxtaposition of two principal elements: a light, transparent curtain wall that encloses the retails spaces, and a group of massive core towers, clad in Roman travertine, which house vertical circulation and mechanical systems.  Bands of translucent glass brise-soleil line the top floor, creating an airy roof structure.  The building’s interior includes a conical skylight featuring a gnomon element to create a shadow in the manner of a sundial, creating an animated play of light in the space below.  

A three-story glass enclosure cantilevers from the building’s main volume and seemingly floats above Boulevard Planken.  This architectural gesture links the retail space of the interior with the public space beyond by simultaneously reflecting the activities of the sidewalk and the marketplace within.