Richard Meier & Partners Architects wins competition for new mixed-use project
The design for Engel & Völkers' new headquarters is a unique approach to the building which was created in response to the classic problem of transparency, organisation, and form within a courtyard building typology. Whilst following the urban requirements of HafenCity district, the 7-storey building block provides a distinctive and identifiable architectural design for the Engel & Völkers companies. The design has incorporated in a tall vertical building volume on the northwest corner which complements the neighboring Marco Polo Tower, and provides a new perspective for this type of building typology.
Bernhard Karpf, Design Partner-in-Charge, comments: "By treating the exterior appearance with restraint elegance and by articulating the interior courtyard and atrium through a series of more expressive elements the building turns itself inside out in correspondence with the clients' request of an inviting and identifiable headquarters building."
Richard Meier & Partners Architects began to design the headquarters by pairing the courtyard building with the organisational system of a hybrid building. This building contains various multiple programmatic uses such as apartments, training academy, offices and retail spaces within a singular identifiable building. The organisation of these various programs are planned uniquely to provide the maximum benefits for each group of users both in plan and section.
The exterior of the building reads as a continuous and evenly articulated shell with elaborations that trace the internal variations. The interior has been designed to reveal areas which provide users glimpses of all the spaces and the differing functions. The undulating ceiling which caps the atrium divides the public domain (training academy, shop, café, gallery) below from the private functions (residential, office) above but also unifies them through the dramatic interior landscape it creates.
The ceiling plane transforms into and becomes the horizontal extension of a cone which introduces light the atrium space and provides vertical circulation for the spaces below. It becomes an architectural feature and a sculptural piece which activates the courtyard above the atrium. In addition, this unique form brings together all of the programmatic functions of the project and gives an iconicity for the building, radiating out to the urban context.
Richard Meier has commented: "We are delighted to be selected to design the new headquarters for Engel & Völkers. Our proposal reflects a continuous, open and clear organisation of the intricate program requirements. The project accommodates various qualities of space and light, making for an architecture that is not only monumental but visually and functionally sensitive."