Located in the heart of Düsseldorf’s banking district, this urban office building both echoes and challenges the traditional, orthogonal character of its neighborhood enforced rigorously by city planners. In a move to enhance the area’s relatively confined public realm, Benrather Karrée is set back to form an entrance square, relieving weight while maintaining a presence appropriate to the size and scale of the project.
Cantilevered off the fully glazedfacade, a screen of translucent onyx panels breaks down the building’srectilinear form. Oriented at varied positions to maximize sunshading, thesepanels visually activate the façade on each side, offering the viewer adifferent perspective from every angle. During the day, they present a solidstone exterior, referencing the structure’s environs while transmitting warmlight to the interior. As night falls, these roles reverse, and the buildingbecomes a lantern in the city, with the onyx providing privacy to officeworkers.
KPF worked with landscape architectGeorg Penker to integrate Benrather Karrée’s landscape and spatial designs. The courtyard space at its rear flowsthrough the entrance hall to the street. A curvilinear paving patternrises and swells, channeling the currents of the nearby Rhine River. Thiselement visually contrasts the orthogonal building and creates a point ofinterest when looking down from the heightened office space. Bamboo beds areplanted to mimic the shape of boats traveling into the currents, alongsidebright red Japanese maples that embolden and enliven the experience.