Germany, Hamburg 

German-Japanese Center


Competition 1990 – 1st prize
Design Meinhard von Gerkan
Partner Klaus Staratzke
Project managers Reinhold Niehoff, Kai Voß
Project team Antje Lucks, Andreas Perlick, Karin Rohrmann, Klaus Dorn, Hilke Eustrup
Client Deutsche Immobilien Anlagengesellschaft mbH, HANSEATICA Unternehmens Consulting GmbH, Kajima Development GmbH
Construction period 1993–1995
Gross floor area 22,000 m²



Gerhard Aumer

Klaus Frahm

The German-Japanese Centre consists of two buildings, one of them a slim bar of a house which curves along the Fleet (narrow canal), as if bowing to the urban situation. Slimness and bowing are both metaphors for Japanese culture. The second house, however, appears like a sharp-edged block firmly attached to the ground, representing virtues one might ascribe to the Germans. At the same time, this building, at the rear, opens out into stepped semi-open courtyards. A pedestrian arcaded passage along the Stadthausbrücke forms a stretch of weather-protected urban street space. The façades also show a marked duality: the street fronts are clad with dark clinker bricks, in deliberate contrast to the filigree transparent glazing to the rear. The functional interior organization was developed as a synthesis of German and Japanese elements, i.e. the typical office cubicle and the openplan office landscape.