The Hen­ry’s
66 new homes unveiled through adaptive reuse
  • Location
    Düsseldorf
  • Project
    Revitalization of an office building into 70 apartments
  • Client
    PROXIMUS Asset Management GmbH
  • Architect of record
    Caspar Schmitz-Morkramer
  • Planning and construction period
    2006–2009
  • Service phases
    1–8
  • Gross floor area
    12,000 m²
  • Technical building equipment
    Ingenieurbüro Nordhorn
  • Structural Engineering
    IDK Kleinjohann
  • Fire Protection
    Corall Ingenieure
  • Landscape Architecture
    Ziegler Grünkonzepte
  • Photos
    Stefan Schilling
  • This project is from the joint period of meyerschmitzmorkramer.

The ten-story office building from the 1970s stood vacant for far too long, becoming an unsightly burden in Düsseldorf’s Oberkassel district. With few other vacancies in the area and a huge housing demand, the city spearheaded a redevelopment project on the former freight yard site. The first construction phase, starting in 2016, established Belsenpark as a green focal point for the new quarter. However, this was preceded by our transformation of the adjacent office tower into a residential high-rise. While our firm had ample experience in renovating and revitalizing obsolete office buildings into modern workspaces, converting one to residential use is far more complex – an unusual but rewarding challenge we were excited to take on. Looking back, now that this project has become an integral part of the neighborhood, we can confidently say that this initiative was exemplary. Urban housing pressures haven’t eased, while the mountain of waste generated by the construction industry through demolition alone grows daily. Taking this unconventional approach of adaptive reuse has certainly paid off.

The High Point

One standout feature of this building is its impressive 10-story height, rising above its neighbors for sweeping views of the cityscape. This height also made it an ideal candidate for our planned conversion. After stripping it down to its core structure, we were able to create 66 spacious residential units of varying sizes, ranging from 70 to 200 square meters. The former office space has been transformed into a diverse array of townhouses with private access, multistory apartments, and maisonettes. We executed an especially exciting transformation on the former technical floor. Freed from all unnecessary equipment, it became a penthouse level with panoramic views. The generous ceiling height gave us a great deal of freedom when designing the rooms and allowed natural light to flood every corner of the space.

From Yesterday for Today and Tomorrow

Today, The Henry’s cuts a confident profile without – apart from its sheer height – being overly brash. Its new facade meets modern sustainability standards for residential buildings, its structure is strictly orthogonal, while its windows are framed in dark accents against a white plastered surface. Continuous balconies structure the views and provide one (or more) private outdoor spaces for each unit. A strong emphasis was placed on delivering quality living spaces and an impactful yet contextual presence for this prominently positioned tower. However, we also viewed the conversion as an opportunity for sustainable construction – preserving the existing structures and transforming them into climate-friendly housing. Upon completion of the retrofit in 2009, The Henry’s was recognized as the first German redevelopment to be awarded the “Efficiency House” seal of approval from the Germans Energy Agency (dena).

Project team