La Tête
Newsmakers should be open to fresh ideas. We create space for encounters and movement.
  • Location
    Düsseldorf
  • Project
    New construction of an office building
  • Client
    Aurelis Real Estate Service GmbH
  • Architect of record
    Caspar Schmitz-Morkramer
  • Planning and construction period
    2015–2017
  • Service phases
    2–5
  • Gross floor area (AG/BG)
    25,460 m²/11,160 m²
  • Photo and film documentation
    HGEsch
  • This project is from the joint period of meyerschmitzmorkramer.

While many media companies have moved to Berlin to be part of the action, the Handelsblatt Media Group chose to remain rooted in Düsseldorf. In 2017, they moved to a new building, making a bold statement about being visible and accessible. Within the cityscape, this publishing house is a vital building block within the new Derendorf urban quarter, formerly a goods station. La Tête (“head” in French) crowns the end of a line of new buildings along Toulouser Allee, overlooking a spacious park and adjacent to Franklin Bridge. But La Tête is about more than mere presence – it symbolizes a shift toward a media culture that embraces its surroundings, fostering an ethos of freedom and transparency within its walls.

Moving Image

La Tête witnesses several hundred thousand commuters passing by daily – by train, streetcar, car, or bicycle. This sleek, seven-story cuboid featuring a rooftop garden is positioned neatly along the block’s edges, about twice as long as it is wide. This simple cubature gave us maximum flexibility to design a highly functional and emblematic facade. Capturing the zeitgeist and media landscape, we anchored the design around the theme of digitization, enveloping the building in a 30-meter-high barcode motif. The striped pattern was sliced and shifted horizontally at each floor level. Rather than materializing the black stripes, we accentuated the gaps between them – with snow-white powder-coated aluminum composite panels, mounted onto horizontal black panels and slender vertical seams in front of the curtain wall. This building radiates dynamism; it demands attention and wants to be remembered. The captivating images displayed on the 80-square-meter screen disseminates the latest news – from the editorial desks straight to the heart of the city.

As You Wish

We avoided a prescriptive approach to the utilization of the 25,500 square meters of space within La Tête. Instead, we conceived an adaptable, open environment capable of evolving with shifting needs. The building’s design accommodates multiple tenants, enabling the Handelsblatt Media Group to expand or reallocate space to other companies as required. Standard floor plans incorporate open spaces, single, double, and group spaces, as well as hybrid solutions. Users have dubbed them “Machine Rooms,” “Inspiration Rooms,” and “Communication Rooms” – all within a flexible framework. The “Newsroom” serves as the central hub where all media converge, from traditional print to social media to moving images, complete with its own TV studio. The library provides a haven for focused work, whether with or without physical books.

Town Hall for All

La Tête’s architecture embodies openness and non-hierarchy. There is no designated executive floor, and everyone can enjoy the inner courtyard with its inviting seating amidst birch trees – including neighbors and passersby, who are also welcome to read the newspaper in the lobby. The building’s “Town Hall” doubles as a public space, actively encouraging direct engagement and hosting events with audiences. The “Cubes” – small, open multi-use spaces protruding into the courtyard like drawers from the white perforated facade – afford a glimpse of the building’s activity. At the very top, sheltered behind the raised glass facade, lies a spacious sky garden, open to all employees and serving as a unique venue for events with views across the city.

Project team