16/10/2017: A New Petritor for Rostock

gmp commissioned with a new building in a place rich in history

Design Volkwin Marg and Hubert Nienhoff with Kristian Spencker
Project management Kristian Spencker
Team Katja Godejohann, Davide Rosa
Client KOE Rostock - Municipal Property Management and Development of the Hanseatic City of Rostock
GFA 1,706.00 m²

Rostock will soon have a new entrance to the city, built according to a design by the architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp). After having selected three submissions to the open international competition “Stadteingang Slüterstraße” for further development, gmp has now been officially commissioned. The design won over the jurors with its holistic development of the overall form, which is of course connected to the adjacent existing buildings and integrated into the alignment of the historical city wall. Also well received, in addition to the symbolic gateway architecture, was the clearly functional division of the living, office, and exhibition spaces.

The medieval city fortifications of Rostock are to this day an elementary part of this Hanseatic City and its identity. After many of the twenty former city gates had been cleared away in the course of defortifying the city, a change of thinking set in. In the 20th century, the remaining structures were restored or in some cases even reconstructed. Despite this, the ruins of the war-ravaged Petritor (St. Peter’s Gate) — and with it, the relics of the oldest entrance to Rostock’s historic center — were demolished in 1960. Discussions about its reconstruction began soon after the loss. In the 2016 competition, requirements were now imposed that fundamentally ruled out any uncritical reconstruction of the old gate. Nevertheless, it was stipulated that the external shape of the original structure should be maintained.

The design for the new building picks up on the intrinsic character of Rostock’s historic city gates as simple and largely unadorned brick blocks. It is planned to build everything of red brick. As with the old gate, the wide range of design options for dealing with the brick material will be pursued in even the smallest details, such as by opening up the uniform brick bonds in places. In this way, selective views both inward and outward, along with a detail-rich close up experience, can be combined with the intended closed monolithic effect from afar. The gate’s passageway conforms to the required vehicular clearance profile, and pedestrians are guided past the gate on both sides.

Offices as well as exhibition and event spaces are envisaged in both the gate building and the adjoining section. On the second floor, an open sequence of spaces with an integrated exterior terrace enables flexible use for exhibitions or seminars and opens up views to the panoramic view of the city, beginning with the Unterwarnow and continuing past Holzhalbinsel, Brückeninsel, and Petrischanze to the spire of Petrikirche (St. Peter’s Church). The program of use is complemented by living space on a separate lot on the western side of the property.

The entrance to the city at Slüterstraße, on the prominent northeast corner of the historic urban core, thus constitutes a purposely complex and ambiguous architecture without superficial nostalgia, which builds on the tradition of the place and carries on its checkered history.

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