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Mid Century Modern - Renovation of an

Iconic 60's High-Rise 

EMPORIO Tower Hamburg

Client: Union Investment Real Estate AG / Location: Hamburg / GFA: 65,400 m² / Built: 1964 / Renovation: 2009-2012 / Green Building: LEED Platinum / Award: FIABCI Prix d´Excellence Official Selection 2015

Services: Architecture, Renovation

percentage reduction of operating costs
Façade elements replaced
Tonnes of CO2 saved annually

Hamburg's first high-rise

More than 45 years after its construction, the EMPORIO Tower has become an integral part of Hamburg's skyline. Its layout typology, consisting of three building wings radiating from a triangular supply core, is an exemplary expression of flexibility and reversibility. Built between 1961 and 1964 by architects Helmut Hentrich and Hubert Petschnigg as Hamburg's first skyscraper for the Unilever Group, the building was listed by the Hanseatic City of Hamburg in 2001.

The former "Unilever-Haus" in the centre of Hamburg

HPP modernising HPP

After Unilever moved out in 2009, Union Investment Real Estate GmbH commissioned HPP Architects to carry out the core refurbishment. The preservation of the listed building and its simultaneous modernisation in terms of energy, building physics, organisation and technology were intended to make the building fit for a second life. For the new EMPORIO Tower, the building was gutted, the technical structures of the roof were dismantled and the floor plans adapted to the requirements of a modern multi-tenant property. 

Adding storeys to a listed building
The skyscraper underwent a visible change when it was extended by two storeys to 24 storeys. Before the approval of the increase by the Department of Monuments and Historic Buildings, detailed studies were carried out to examine the urban repercussions of different building heights on Hamburg's silhouette from all of the city's major visual axes.

Historical reference on the outside, state of the art on the inside

A balancing act: Accurate reconstruction 
A total of almost 2,700 façade elements were replaced. The tower's existing façade of the high-rise building was a thermally non-decoupled single façade in mullion-transom construction with sheet metal panels and fixed glazing without natural ventilation but with internal sun protection.
In the course of the thermal renewal, the façade of the upper floors was fitted with twin cladding and casement windows. The thermal insulation exceeds the requirements of the German Energy Saving Directive for energy-efficiency without having made any perceptible changes to the appearance of the building. 

In order to ensure uniform loading of the supporting structure, installation and dismantling were carried out simultaneously.

Timeless modernity...

The renovation of the listed skyscraper was carried out with the aim of restoring the original condition and historical value of the building as accurately as possible. The foyer was also exposed and its original character restored.

... down to the last detail

A special feature is the ceiling made of tetrahedron-shaped prefabricated concrete elements and the wood-panelled walls of the ceremonial hall. Various works of art in the interior have also been integrated into the new look and contribute to the timeless modernity of the building.

Ceiling detail Emporio Tower Hamburg

In detail

The building is LEED PLATINUM certified. Within the scope of this certification, a monitoring concept for the entire building was developed in addition to the creation of an energy model for the building. At the tenant's request, the monitoring concept can be used for individual tenant areas in order to provide a weather-adjusted comparison of the consumption data for the individual periods of use. The modernisation of the building, the façade and the technical installations has reduced operating costs for heating and cooling by around 53 percent.

The Y-shaped layout of the building is still very much exemplary today in terms of flexibility and reversibility. In order to enable the property to be readily leased as a multi-tenant property in the future, it was decided to divide it into several small individual units. Each of the 23 upper floors can be divided into three. The office areas can be used as open-plan, group, combined or individual offices, depending on the tenant's wishes. The upper floors offer an incomparable view of the city panorama of Hamburg from every angle.

Architecture and town planning
Additional storeys
Core structure (technical core)
Building façade to standard storeys
Building façade to ground floor
Interior design
Ceremonial hall with foyer
Lift lobby

Dual façade in casement construction
Contemporary ventilation and air-conditioning concept
Opening windows
External sun shading in the cavity between the glazing
Optimisation of fire protection and safety technology

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