Caruso St John Architects

Location: Hamburg, DE
Client: Commerz Real AG
Project Status: Competition, first prize; Ongoing project

This commission was won in an invited competition organised by the city. The new office building for developers Commerz Real is part of a wider project to rearrange the shape of the city streets to the north of the church of St Nikolai, which were lost in the post-war development of the site. The wider masterplan re-establishes a scale of city block more consistent with the scale of the older streets at this central quarter of the city, making it more permeable. The new building will provide 13,700 sq m of offices and retail space over 10 floors.

The site is in the centre of the old city. On one side the new building stands along Grosser Burstah, an important city street with a 19th Century scale. On the other side, the new building faces a canal, closing an important view from the Trostbrücke and Nikolaibrücke bridges, and standing in the context of adjacent historic buildings along the water edge including the mediaeval former Town Hall.

The aim of the design is to shape the mass of the building so that its facades have the proportion and delicacy to address these different situations, and contribute to the richness and quality of urban space that is so enjoyable in this part of Hamburg. The facades are clad in profiled terracotta tiles in a light buff colour close to the colour of adjacent historic buildings.