Manhattan Moment in Düsseldorf
Presence, identity, urban repair, New Work – and ... Martin Luther

“Here I stand; I can do no other.” Those famous words from Martin Luther sum up why places bear his name – for he didn’t just reform, but did so with unwavering conviction. Once such place is a square in the heart of Düsseldorf. And since 2023, something has been standing on Martin-Luther-Platz that embodies that same spirit of resolute presence and clarity – it simply can’t be any other way.

With its bold wedge shape and strong verticality, the “Vertikum” offers a “Manhattan” moment – a deliberate nod to the iconic Flatiron Building. However, in true Lutheran modesty, it practices restraint in comparison. The base, formed by merging the ground and first floors, provides a robust foundation that visually anchors the classically composed structure. Similarly, the sweeping setback of the 7th and 8th floors from the adjacent building forms a distinctive crown. These thoughtful elements complement and reinforce the overall slender, pointed form. Yet at nine stories, the Vertikum’s height remains grounded in Düsseldorf’s context. This is not Manhattan, and the building doesn’t pretend otherwise. But it does make a powerful contribution to the city’s architectural identity and urban fabric.
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