Hohe Strasse 134–136
Our living laboratory for “Retail in Transition” has taken shape.
  • Location
    Cologne
  • Project
    New construction of an office and commercial building with catering unit
  • Client
    Ehret + Klein GmbH
  • Architect of record
    Caspar Schmitz-Morkramer
  • Planning and construction period
    2022–2025
  • Service phases
    1-4, 5a on demand
  • Gross floor area (AG/BG)
    3,576 m²/548 m²
  • Visualizations
    bloomimages

An invisible force seems to pull crowds into this narrow street, turning it into a loud and bustling bazaar. Hohe Strasse sees 48,000 daily visitors, each filled with anticipation and excitement, searching for that special something. Some discover it amidst the abundance, while others leave empty-handed, overwhelmed by the choices. Some take what they can, while others sit helplessly on the sidelines. Amidst the vibrant chaos of German city centers, the human experience can be arduous and, economically, daunting. Amidst this, who pauses to admire the architecture or enjoy public spaces? Who considers investing in Cologne’s goal of being climate-neutral by 2035 with their home or business? In our book Retail in Transition, published in 2019 and 2021, we delve into city center transformations, offering tangible pathways for the future.

Something Has Started to Change

In early 2022, ehret+klein entrusted us with the task of designing a commercial building at Hohe Strasse 134-136. Situated on a prominent corner plot spanning 627 square meters, the new building will exemplify excellence in design, materiality, sustainability, and user comfort. From an urban planning perspective, the strategic placement of the property enables us to expand the public realm. With three fronts and no rear, the building stands as a green, visible entity meant to be experienced holistically. To facilitate this, a freely accessible external staircase guides visitors to the public rooftop garden on the fifth floor. Hohe Strasse serves as our living laboratory for exploring “Retail in Transition.” This philosophy underpins our use concept, fostering synergy through “flex spaces” used by different tenants at various times of the day. Such adaptability makes it possible to build and work in a way that saves space and resources.

New Thinking, Sustainable Design

The ground floor hosts retail space in the tenor of its surroundings. A large retail store with a first-floor mezzanine and basement storage opens up to the public at the corner of Hohe Strasse/Grosse Budengass. Additionally, the more peaceful Marspfortengasse provides street access for a smaller unit, ideal for an enoteca or similar business.
The office floors on the second to fourth floors offer versatile rental options, accommodating individual or combined usage. The layout grid facilitates flexible arrangement and furnishing of workspaces. On the fifth floor, designed as a staggered story, accessibility is barrier-free through either an elevator or the external staircase, prominently integrated into the facade. This floor hosts a café with a compact kitchen and sanitary facilities, complemented by a green roof terrace offering views of the cathedral for all to enjoy.

Project team