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 glazed facade, a screen of translucent onyx panels breaks down the building’s rectilinear form. Oriented at varied positions to maximize sunshading, these panels visually activate the façade on each side, offering the viewer a different perspective from every angle. During the day, they present a solid stone exterior, referencing the structure’s environs while transmitting warm light to the interior. As night falls, these roles reverse, and the building becomes a lantern in the city, with the onyx providing privacy to office workers.
KPF worked with landscape architect Georg Penker to integrate Benrather Karrée’s landscape and spatial designs. The courtyard space at its rear flows through the entrance hall to the street. A curvilinear paving pattern rises and swells, channeling the currents of the nearby Rhine River. This element visually contrasts the orthogonal building and creates a point of interest when looking down from the heightened office space. Bamboo beds are planted to mimic the shape of boats traveling into the currents, alongside bright red Japanese maples that embolden and enliven the experience.