New Shell, New Order; the Structure remains
  • Location
  • Project
    Revitalization of an office building
  • Client
    Archon Group Deutschland GmbH
  • Architect of record
    Caspar Schmitz-Morkramer
  • Technical building equipment
    Ingenieurbüro Nordhorn, Münster
  • Structural engineering
    iRS Ingenieurgesellschaft für Bautechnik, Düsseldorf
  • Fire protection
    Brandschutz Dr.-Ing. Thomas Heins & Partner, Kleve
  • Landscape architecture
    FSWLA Landschaftsarchitektur, Cologne
  • Planning and construction period
  • Service phases
    1–6, 8
  • Gross floor area (AG/BG)
    9.300 m²/1.200 m²
  • Photos
    Stefan Schilling (pre-renovation)

Quartier Am Seestern, established in the early 1960s as an office district in the Düsseldorf neighborhood of Lörick, was designed to alleviate growth pressure on the city center. Am Seestern 24, an eight-story office building, commands a prominent position at the eastern gateway to the quarter. Constructed in the 1970s, the standalone structure did not align with our technical or aesthetic standards for a modern workspace, though it possessed a robust structural foundation. The investor chose sustainable revitalization, entrusting us to reconfigure the internal layout and develop an energy-optimized building envelope. In 2006, the transformed building was reoccupied; today, neither the facade nor the interior hint at its former life, with only the plaza in front subtly acknowledging its past.

Increasing Natural Light

We stripped the slender office building down to its skeleton and converted the internal stairwell into a safety stairwell. Removing the external wraparound escape balconies and staircase – hallmarks of its original construction era – significantly increased daylight penetration into the rooms. The office spaces were reorganized around a central core that now accommodates all ancillary rooms along with vertical circulation. To enhance the structure, we expanded the core by integrating the previously darker interior areas, effectively doubling its width. All workstations are strategically positioned along the facade, maintaining the offices at standard depth. The 7th floor, designed as a staggered story, now boasts a spacious wraparound roof terrace. A feasibility study showed that optimizing the floor plan design and reducing the layout grid from 1.80 meters to 1.30 meters could boost workplace efficiency by 30 percent.

Vision in Black & White

The white Alucobond facade stands out from the dark-tinted glazing like an exoskeleton. Horizontally, narrow bands encircle the floors, creating a dynamic rhythm through the alternation of equally wide modules with opening sashes or fixed glazing. A flush-mounted Venetian blind can be lowered in front of all window surfaces for sun protection. Internally, the facade presents a calm, white aesthetic accented with black profiling; a flush-integrated baseboard houses the data cabling and electrical supply for the offices. The new facade imparts a contemporary appearance to the building and ensures a comfortable indoor climate with minimal technological intervention. The prefabricated facade elements were easily mounted onto the brackets onsite, allowing the technically and aesthetically modern building envelope to be assembled economically and efficiently within eight weeks. This project exemplifies the potential for revitalizing valuable existing buildings with minimal disruption, showcasing benefits that extend far beyond the Seestern quarter.

Project team