Der Neue Zollhof is situated at the Eastern edge of the Rhine River harbor front in downtown Düsseldorf, near the administrative complex of the North Rhine Westphalia province. It consists of three towers designed by the American architect Frank Gehry and erected from 1996 to 1999.
Previuosly occupied by warehouses, this stretch of the waterfront is being redeveloped as an urban public zone, to comprise primarily art and media agencies. Due to its proximity to the residential district immediately to the South, and to the municipal and financial district further to the East, the rehabilitation of the harbor front is intended to provide an open public amenity for the City, while underscoring the emergence of Düsseldorf as a cultural and business center.
The flat site runs adjacent to the waterfront promenade, with extensive views up and down the Rhine River. New construction borders the Eastern and Western edges, while a future tram line and stop define the Southern boundary along Stromstrasse. To the North, the site overlooks the Zolhafen Sport Harbor and the Bilk Park beyond.
The program for the project provides 28,000 square meters of commercial office space in three separate buildings, promoting a highly open site plan and minimizing the overall mass of the project. The placement of these buildings acknowledges the convergence of Brueckenstrasse and Wupperstrasse toward the site, thus leaving it open to the residential district across Stromstrasse. This massing further provides a counterpoint to the typical horizontal development of the adjacent sites, resulting in a series of clustered, mid rise towers.
The program comprises a mix of advertising, insurance and related agencies. The three towers consist of 300 square meter to 500 square meters elements grouped around a central core, providing highly flexible leasing arrangements within an articulated massing. The floor plates accommodate open or modular office planning. The towers rest on an expansive plaza, with a variety of paths connecting the street to the harbor. Parking is provided below grade. The division of the project into three major buildings provides high visibility to each of the three primary tenants.
All three buildings are constructed of concrete flat slab with punched window openings on the exterior facade. The finish material on each of the buildings is unique. The central office building is clad entirely in metal panels; the East (tallest) tower is comprised of curvilinear volumes finished in plaster, and the West tower is a grouping of volumes faced in brick. All buildings have operable windows for natural ventilation. The articulation of the window and its relationship to the exterior skin is similar in all three structures. The clustered organization of the volumes maximizes the occurrence of offices with waterside views.
Geometry, massing and exterior material, provides each of the buildings with a unique identity. The project as a single entity, provides a unifying urban complex through the consistent application of identical window units throughout and, a familial relationship with the ground plane.