The central idea behind the design lies in the combination of the seemingly contradictory, of classic modern and traditional urban design, to form a symbiotic ensemble. The listed high-rise buildings are incorporated in a kind of urban redensification into a block shaped like a ship, which clearly reasserts the identity of Hamburg’s Old Town.
The ultimate shape of the block evolved sculpturally, with the lines of city buildings being laid like a cutting pattern over the block design. The form is then honed along those lines for further differentiation. The resulting geometry is therefore firmly anchored in the design of the new structures, which explains why they not only fuse quite naturally with the existing high-rises but also reinforce their presence.
Both high-rises remain free and, encircled by the new structures, create the impression of a framed cityscape.
The facades are made of coloured concrete and harmonise in tone and structure with Hamburg's traditional red-brick architecture. They nevertheless gain their own sense of scale by the powerful grid that envelops the structures like a fine sheath.
The mix of office and residential properties with commercial and hospitality space suggests that this is set to become an interesting and multipurpose location in Hamburg.
In its new guise, the once isolated “Spiegelinsel” is now playing an active and integrative role in the urban development of the Old Town district.