Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Peek & Cloppenburg Department Store

Dusseldorf, Germany

1998 - 2001

Located in the heart of the pedestrian retail zone in Düsseldorf, this flagship store for Peek & Cloppenburg is treated as a traditional corner building bounded on two sides by pedestrian and vehicular movement at grade. Since the site abuts an elevated expressway, the building has no choice but to respond to various modes and speeds of transit. Acknowledging these movement patterns and the scale of the adjacent urban fabric and governed by strict setback requirements, the building’s basic form incorporates a broad curve of continuous glazing. This dynamic, sweeping façade unites the contingent development into one continuous surface, which at the same time presents a revitalized urban retail model for the neighborhood as a whole.

The separation of the five-story curved curtain wall from the sidewalk with a continuous over-sailing canopy encourages window shopping at two different scales. In the first instance, the display is conventionally legible by pedestrians as a continuous sweeping front of large plate-glass window. On the upper floors, the horizontally glazed curved elevation is readable at from the expressway as a giant billboard or, rather, as a translucent display of luxury goods. From the adjacent buildings or a passing car, window shopping becomes a dynamic architectural scene, accented at night by neon strip lighting around the perimeter.

The superimposition of three-to-four-story architectural frames beyond the surface of the glass breaks the movement of the curve. These tie the glazed façade back into the recessed penthouse with its travertine cornice and the white paneled attic for mechanical services on the roof. In a similar manner the grand sweep of the façade is terminated by egress stair towers faced in travertine.

The building is planned about a central atrium, which brings light deep into the heart of the shopping floors, unifying the commercial space for six stories. The first basement level to the fifth floor comprise the primary retail area while the sixth and seventh floors accommodate offices, workshops, cafeteria, storage, and mechanical equipment.

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