Freshfields House
We play with the classical order of the local architecture according to our own distinct rhythm
  • Location
    Hamburg
  • Project
    New office, retail, commercial, parking
  • Client
    The Carlyle Group
  • Architect of record
    Caspar Schmitz-Morkramer
  • Planning and construction period
    2006–2009
  • Service phases
    1–7, 8 (artistic supervision)
  • Gross floor area (AG/BG)
    13,600 m²/3,000 m²
  • Photos
    Stefan Schilling
  • This project is from the joint period of meyerschmitzmorkramer.

The Freshfields building occupies two prominent corners in Hamburg’s Hansa district. Situated at Hohe Bleiche 7, the office and commercial building, inaugurated in 2010, opens up to the street space through its generously glazed ground-floor storefronts. The law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, the building’s namesake, occupies approximately 10,800 square meters of high-quality office space on the seven floors above. This new building constitutes the longest side of a trapezoidal block along the narrow Amelungstrasse, connecting with the adjacent five-story buildings at equal height. The eaves reach the seventh floor at a respectful distance, while the eighth floor is set far back, invisible from the street. Roof terraces created by the setbacks provide added value for users.

Well-ordered

A light-colored natural stone grid facade with strongly emphasized verticals envelops the entire office building, blending in with the nearby Hanseatic merchant buildings. This finely profiled facade extends neatly across all three sides and the two flattened corners, unifying the structure. Yet incisions, recesses, and openings add variation to the orderly surfaces, imparting depth and distinguishing each side. Horizontally, the facade presents a rhythmic grouping of floors in pairs, with the exception of the ground level, which has significantly higher ceilings and stands out on its own. Black glass ribbons weave across the natural stone facade, forming a second layer that visually divides each floor pair. At the building’s corners, these bands become more prominent, creating an open and inviting gesture toward the city. The ground-floor facade is designed as a post and beam construction, with discreetly illuminated advertising lettering for the stores integrated under the lintel.

Well-illuminated

The main office entrance on Hohe Bleiche passes through a three-story open atrium, providing access to the office floors. An additional entrance, accessible from Axel-Springer-Platz, leads to a spacious lobby suitable for in-house events. Balconies on the long south side facing the block interior provide natural shade for the offices and, like the ground floor terrace, serve as popular gathering spots for casual encounters and quick fresh air breaks.

Project team