Volksbank-Areal: Identity-setting architecture for Freiburg


Hadi Teherani Architects has completed a new building complex that marks the cityscape of Freiburg im Breisgau and bears the name Volksbank-Areal. Centrally located directly across from the main railway station in Freiburg, the complex officially inaugurated on September 29th is gateway to the city and calling card in one. The team around Hadi Teherani developed all design-related aspects under one roof, from architecture to interior planning to product design.


A decisive factor in design work by Hadi Teherani is the “genius loci”, the sense of continuity and authenticity associated with a certain location. The specific characteristics of the Breisgau region consequently became the leitmotif for the entire architecture. It incorporates local references and transposes them into a contemporarily elegant design language. A sensitive interpretation of the city’s identity with its wealth of tradition and the world-famous Black Forest mark the starting point for the drafting process. The vertical louvre-blade structure of the façades picks up on the idea of trees in the forest in an abstract manner, an idea consistently applied in the interior architecture as well. The Interior Design division at Hadi Teherani proceeded to draw on local building tradition when furnishing the interiors at this branch of the Volksbank bank. Dark, anthracite-coloured areas and stainless steel stand for timeless style. White walls and warm accents such as wooden slats made of natural oak generate the right “temperature” in an intriguing interplay of contrasts. The element of “wood” comes increasingly into play at Hotel Courtyard by Marriott too, a part of the complex, creating a homey atmosphere in all the rooms. The blue glass mosaic stripe in the floor is reminiscent of the legendary brooks in Freiburg and simultaneously serves as orientational guide.


Multiple structures within the whole complex are grouped around a greened inner courtyard with two separately accessible outdoor terraces, creating oases of tranquility in the midst of town. The 12-storey tower of Volksbank-Areal is visible from afar and equally composed of several two to three-storey blocks whose exteriors are slightly staggered via projections and recesses.


A fundamental role in the drafting process was particularly played by the aspect of sustainability: Volksbank-Areal was awarded preliminary certification in gold by DGNB, the German Sustainable Building Council. 90 per cent of the materials from the previous Volksbank branch were recycled and partially reused for construction work on the new building complex.


The multifunctional property measuring 43,000 m² unifies a diversified urban quarter involving a variety of uses from the educational, social, business, hotel and gastronomic sectors. Among other facilities it houses the new headquarters for Volksbank Freiburg, foundations at the Archdiocese of Freiburg, rooms from the secondary school St. Ursula Gymnasium, a hotel, offices and space for retail shops.

Award for Mercator One – “BDA Prize Right Bank Lower Rhine”


Marketed by the owner as “Mercator One”, the office building near Duisburg’s Central Station transforms this urban space so eminently important to Duisburg. The railway building with its elegant modern-era brickwork, to this day still not liberated from the erstwhile loveless style upheld by the construction division at Germany’s Deutsche Bundesbahn railway, the proud Chamber of Commerce dating back to better times, the high-rise with its banal façade renovation and an inconsequential new hotel, along with an overhead lid for the city motorway now referred to as a “plaza”, as if it dealt with a genuine urban space. All this was once the entryway to Duisburg. And now comes this new structure that manages to set a distinctly effective new accent in urban redevelopment and enhances the area facing the railway station on the whole. The placement as elongated bar that allows a big-city streetscape to arise on the one hand, and on the other lends at least hope that the motorway cover displays the desired plaza effect (here we’re still waiting for a dismantling of the site fence and next summer), had already been stipulated by the master plan. A building was to be developed here which had to be a solitary gem and space-creating block perimeter in one. The result is convincing. The finely detailed and well-proportioned façade succeeds in turning the building’s substantial length into a quality structure, not just a boring sense of monotony. The twisting of the gabled ends forms a balancing act between circus and skilful gesture. Yet the real-life perception of urban space works convincingly here: dialogues arise with the very different urban spaces at the two gabled ends. In both cases they achieve what was planned. The interiors exhibit a well-crafted quality of outfitting, floor-to-ceiling glazing is testimony to a self-confident exchange with the urban surroundings and generates a sense of large spaciousness. With an eye to architecture and urban redevelopment, a persuasively satisfying contribution to this entryway to Duisburg.
Photographer: Olaf Rohl

“FiftyNine” residential tower celebrates topping-out in HafenCity


Behind a backdrop of construction noise and screeching seagulls, the topping-out ceremony for the BE STRANDKAI quarter was celebrated in Hamburg’s riverside HafenCity district on 13 September. A total of 480 apartments are going to arise in its two 60-metre-high residential towers “FiftyNine” and “The Crown”. In addition, BE STRANDKAI will be offering space for retail businesses and gastronomic options, as well as a surrounding boulevard. The completed shell construction of the quarter now stands in direct proximity to the Elbphilharmonie complex. Building commenced in 2019. Besides the two 60-metre-high architectural flagship structures, the quarter equally includes two more buildings. Completion is scheduled for mid-2023.

Pictures: DC Developments

Urban Evolution at HAFENPARK QUARTIER in Frankfurt-Ostend


One of the presently largest project developments in Frankfurt, the so-called HAFENPARK QUARTER, is kicking off the next construction phase on 15 September 2021 with the topping-out ceremony for the premium residential project entitled HPQ LIVING.  This mixed-use quarter, for which the Hamburg-based project developer B&L Group bears lead responsibility, is arising in the Frankfurt-Ostend district in the immediate vicinity of the ECB and the banks of the Main. The total volume for HAFENPARK QUARTER amounts to roughly EUR 1.5 billion. An office complex, two hotels and a variety of retail spaces and social facilities will be erected by 2025; the hotels are to completed in 2023 and 2026. Apartments to let were readily completed in May 2020. HAFENPARK QUARTER encompasses a gross floor area of 180,000 m². As for HPQ LIVING, the four-part premium residential project, with its two 60-metre-high residential towers a building ensemble is coming into being that will make a new mark on the Frankfurt Skyline. A total of 288 modern condominiums and spacious townhouses are going to be realised at HPQ LIVING. One special feature is formed by an inner courtyard similar to a park measuring around 5,000 m² that contains 100 trees and a landscaped, 250 m² rooftop terrace. Completion is scheduled for 2023.

Picture: Bernhard Visker, Hadi Teherani, Thorsten Testorp, Martin Teige

Photographer: Martin Leissl

AWARD-WINNING! 25 Years BDA Hamburg Architecture Prize 1996 - 2021


Open-Air Exhibition on Überseeboulevard in HafenCity Hamburg

Runs From: 14 September 2021 – 4 April 2022

In search of Hamburg’s best buildings! The BDA Hamburg Architecture Prize was awarded for the first time in 1996 and pursues the goal of drawing attention to exemplary structures in Greater Hamburg. Both architects and builders are acknowledged for their achievement. In this compilation the exhibition shows 43 outstanding building structures on all scales for the first time to attain a masterful handling of the existing portfolio, to the benefit of good residential life, for viably sustainable formative landscapes and sophisticated solutions in everyday architectures along with eminent examples of other construction commissions – selected by expert juries empanelled with renowned architects and members of the Hamburg readership from media partners associated with the Architectural Audience Prize. The exhibition offers a unique cross-section of outstanding building activity in Hamburg from the last two and a half decades. The 43 award-winning structures are additionally documented in the Catalogue of the BDA Hamburg Architecture Prize 2020, which will be published in September by Dölling & Galitz Verlag.

load more