Rickmers Reederei Headquarters
Recalling Hamburg’s Hanseatic mercantile history, the Rickmers Reederei building is a sleek, new headquarters for an international shipping company.
The site enjoys a shoreline exposure to the Aussenalster, a large civic lake linked to Hamburg’s port via a network of canals, while low-rise housing, classical urban villas and the United States Consulate fashion the texture of this primarily residential neighborhood.
Given these site conditions, an intimate program, and a small floor area, this building is a reconciliation between the scale of a residential project and the infrastructure demands of larger commercial projects.
Within the formal composition, subtly curved roof and curtain wall elements seek to architecturally unify zones of discrete workspaces. These work areas offer varying degrees of privacy in response to programmatic needs.
Given the high ratio of informal meeting areas, lounges, tea kitchens and exterior wood decks to personal workspace and the rather small floor plates, the atmosphere is more in the vein of a home/work typology rather than the strictly defined spatial logic of conventional office space. A double-height entry reception area occupies the ground floor along with office space.
The second floor is comprised of a gallery and office space, with additional office space and a flexible conference area on the third floor. Executive offices are located on the sculptural top floor. Below grade, two basement floors contain parking and archival space.
In addition to providing new workspace, the suspended platform gallery in the entry hall buoyantly provides a display area for the Rickmers Company to showcase a superb collection of scale ship models, portraying elements of their fleet. A cutaway portion of the arced north facade reveals this suspended interior space to the passing automobile traffic, while the remainder of this elegantly glazed screen frames and reveals various other elements of interest to passerbys.