Rickmers Reederei Headquarters
Richard Meier & Partners

May 07, 2003 /

Hamburg, Germany

richmers_1.jpgPhoto: arcspace

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.

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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.

Photo: arcspace
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.

Photo: arcspace
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.

Photo: arcspace
Photo: arcspace
Photo: arcspace
Photo: arcspace
Photo: arcspace
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.

Model photo courtesy Richard Meier & Partners
Drawing courtesy Richard Meier & Partners
Site Plan

Drawing courtesy Richard Meier & Partners.
West Elevation

Drawing courtesy Richard Meier & Partners.
North Elevation

Facts about Rickmers Reederei Headquarters

Total Area:

3,025 square meters

Richard Meier & Partners

Design Team:

Richard Meier
Bernhard Karpf


Matthias Oppliger
Clay Collier
Dukho Yeon
Jörg Petri
Adrian Ulrich

Associate Architect:

Ehrensberger & Oertz

Lighting Consultant:

Tobias Grau

Structural and Mechanical:

Ove Arup & Partners


Kai Trebes

General Contractor:

Richard Ditting GmbH


Rickmers Reederei
GmbH & Cie

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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