Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Düsseldorf Harbor

Düsseldorf, Germany

2001

Located at the apex of Düsseldorf’s Media-Harbor, at the end of an orthogonal grid of existing and new buildings, this project comprises both a 30-story amoeba shaped glass tower and its counter form, the Media-Hotel, which looks back across the water towards the newly redeveloped Zollhof. Connecting the two buildings at ground floor is a Public Plaza, which also serves as the destination for a new pedestrian bridge which connects the city. The two buildings are oriented along major axes created by the fabric of the immediate built environment. The tower aligns with the edge of the Zollhof promenade whereas the hotel extends towards the tip of the island. Both buildings are clad in glass, but they are treated distinctly. The tower is conceived as a transparent white glass monolith, with a double insulated façade. This two-layer system allows for natural ventilation through operable window. External sunshades are placed in the front of the inner layer of glass. Between the inner and outer layer is an intricate web of diagonal tension rods that serves to sustain both layers while creating an outer glass membrane with open joints.

This inside-out structural system allows for a lighter core at the center of the building and greater transparency for the entire structure. In contrast, the hotel is enveloped in bands of opaque white glass alternating with horizontal strips of clear glass. On the northwest, the hotel follows the shape of the tower by redirecting the flow of the street into the park. On the southeast, the façade tilts out vertically while aligning horizontally with the edge of the embankment. The entire rook of the hotel curves down towards the tip of the island forming a head to the row of buildings behind it. The volumes interact formally much like a river carving its path through the landscape. With a height of 350 feet, the tower will rank among the tallest buildings in the city, clearly marking the site of the Media-Harbor. The bridge gently rises from the Zollhof side where it is anchored in a heavy concrete abutment. It spans 400 feet across the river to the new public plaza in front of the hotel and the tower. This bridge becomes wider in plan as it becomes thinner in section. Its simple design contrasts with the suspension bridge at the entry to the harbor.

Credits