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Norddeutsche Landesbank

Hannover, Germany
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Built by father and son, Gunther and Stefan Behnisch, the Norddeutsche Landesbank building was completed in 2002, on Hannover's Friedrichswall, a street connecting the city centre with residential neighbourhoods to the south. The building measures a total of 40,000 square metres and provides office space for a staff of about 1,500. It starts out as a regular platform, from which a seventeen-storey building rises about seventy metres into the air, divided into horizontal blocks set at different angles. A light coat of steel cables and glass covers the projecting parts of the building: a "stretched flexible structure" of the kind normally used in suspended roofs, capable of resisting tensile stress. The asymmetrical, strongly expressionist Norddeutsche Landesbank building stands out from the monotony of the city of Hanover as different from either the housing developments to the south or the tall buildings north of Friedrichswall. The building's ground floor is a public space offering restaurants, shops, coffee shops and exhibition galleries. Inside are a large courtyard designed with careful attention to detail, as is apparent in its beautiful fountains and variety of vegetation. Numerous treed pathways branch off from this open space to the nearby "Maschpark" and southern Hanover.

The site of the Norddeutsche Landesbank is to all intents and purposes a transition zone between the city's bustling centre of business, bureaucracy and culture and its quiet residential neighbourhoods.

The Hannover bank by Gunter Behnisch and his son Stefan is among his most innovative realisations; the critics have spoken of a turn to "deconstructivism" in view of the informal, contrasting elements in the building's architecture. While Behnisch and Partner's earlier projects where characterised by inflexible forms and a rather organic style, this building has no axes of reference or regular geometries. Angular volumes and discontinuous forms create a modern construction in which co-penetration of planes and spatial deformation constitute highly dynamic elements. The result is a building which stands out as completely different from the city's uniform skyline.

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  1. Floornature
ludmilla, March 20th, 2011
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