Kö-Quartier
Three buildings in one architectural language form a quarter in harmony with esteemed neighbors.
  • Location
    Düsseldorf
  • Project
    New office and commercial building with restaurant and basement
  • Client
    Hines Immobilien GmbH
  • Architect of record
    Caspar Schmitz-Morkramer
  • Planning and construction period
    2017–2020
  • Service phases
    1–4, 6–8
  • Gross floor area (AG/BG)
    21,000 m²/2,380 m²
  • Technical building equipment
    M & P Gruppe
  • Structural Engineering
    Weiske und Partner
  • Fire Protection
    hhpberlin
  • Facade Planning
    B + G Ingenieure Bollinger und Grohmann
  • Building Physics
    Graner + Partner Ingenieure
  • Awards
    Iconic Awards 2022
  • Photo and film documentation
    HGEsch
  • This project is from the joint period of meyerschmitzmorkramer.

Our cities have long since been built up, especially in central locations where buildings stand shoulder to shoulder. This holds true for Düsseldorf’s banking district, home to a high density of prestigious, mostly historic structures. But even here, in a block flanked on the east by the upscale Königsallee shopping street, there was a need for subtle urban revitalization. In 2020, we completed the Kö-Quartier: three new office and commercial buildings encompassing approximately 20,000 square meters of gross floor area. Configured in an L-shape, they neatly close the block’s perimeter. Their design, height, and materials ensure a cohesive appearance that harmonizes with the existing historical buildings. However, the distinction lies in the details; slight variations in color, grid dimensions, and the texture of the natural stone facade create nuances. Throughout the design and planning process, we maintained close dialogue with the local monument authority. Our shared understanding was that these new buildings should integrate sensitively within the historical context, and that embracing a clear architectural vision should not be equated with making provocative architectural gestures.

Being a Good Neighbor

Particular attention was devoted not only to the positioning of the three new buildings, but also to their integration with the existing structures. Along Benrather Strasse, House 1 adjoins the Deutsche Bank, maintaining the eaves line with its five stories and a two-story recessed zinc-clad roof structure. After four window axes, the new building boldly rises by an additional story in the central section, establishing a horizontal connection to House 3 and the existing structures on Breitestrasse. At the intersection of Benrather Strasse/Breite Strasse, the neoclassical Commerzbank building, featuring an unusual tempietto, serves as a focal point. Drawing from the rich stylistic elements of this structure, we reference the corner rounding of the building with House 1 while preserving the square grid. The corner is subtly emphasized by the maximum reveal depth, gradually diminishing towards the sides, as well as by the meticulously crafted adaptation of the natural stone cladding and the curved panes of the large window openings. The facades, constructed from light-colored, slightly marbled Wachenzell dolomite, reinforce the cohesive relationship between the three buildings. To maintain the quarter’s scale within the streetscape, House 2’s facade has more narrowly spaced, vertically oriented window openings from the second floor upward, framed with a stone passe-partout effect. Additionally, the centrally positioned dolomite-framed portal on the building’s long side is set within a grid section double the typical width and height, introducing a subtle disruption to the facade rhythm for heightened visibility.

“Due to the form of the building volumes, the Kö-Quartier not only blend harmoniously into the sensitive landmarked area, but actually completes it.”

Repaired and Revitalized

Each building within the Kö-Quartier has its own distinct address and entrance with a representative foyer. The ground floors accommodate a vibrant mix of restaurants and retailers, ensuring the neighborhood remains lively beyond the Kö buildings. Starting from Houses 2 and 3, a comb-like structure extends into the bustling block interior, offering open terraces on the upper floors that create protected niches in front of the offices. The roof terraces atop Houses 1 and 2 also provide exceptional urban open spaces. One notable structural challenge was the construction of House 3 on the existing foundations, integrating with the five basement floors of the underground parking from the previous building. In 2022, our team’s efforts were recognized with the Ionic Award for Innovative Architecture and the highest accolade from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) – the Platinum certificate. Notably, at the time of certification, the Kö-Quartier became only the second commercial quarter to achieve this prestigious honor.

Project team