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A Modern Classic

in all its new glory

Revitalisation of the Finnlandhaus

Client for the revitalisation: Dieter Becken / Location: Hamburg / GFA: 8,300 m² / Year of construction: 1966 / Completion of revitalisation works: 2017 / Green Building: DGNB Gold

Service: Revitalisation

Designed by HPP's founders Helmut Hentrich and Hubert Petschnigg, the Finnlandhaus was built in Hamburg in 1966. It was the first building in Germany to use the innovative suspension structure, it was an architecturally ground-breaking and was added to Hamburg's list of historic monuments in 2002. The revitalisation works breathed new life into this design classic.

A unique construction method
Architects Hentrich and Petschnigg used a completely new method of construction for this building in order to achieve physical dimensions that otherwise would not have been possible, due to the constraints of the building regulations at the time: each floor is suspended from trusses affixed to the central service core and projects over the ground floor.

The ground floor is conceived as a glazed pavilion with 370m² of flexible, usable space.

Contemporary renewal
Although it was one of the most innovative buildings in Germany when it was completed, the Finnlandhaus no longer met the requirements of modern office buildings when the revitalisation began. The aim was to bring the building up to date and to prepare it for the next 50 years without sacrificing its character.

The challenge: to preserve identity but to deliver contemporary quality
Monument protection, the suspended construction, a filigree façade, state-of-the-art post-war finishings and an extremely compact design posed significant challenges. We had to find many individual solutions that went beyond standards and trends in order to meet modern fire protection, sound insulation, statics and indoor climate requirements that did not exist when the building was first erected.

Our façade concept: Maintaining external values, optimising internal values
After the building had been gutted to the core and renovated, the replacement of the façade began, in line with listed building requirements. The proportions of the outer layer follow the original to the centimetre. The construction of the inner façade is also as close as possible to the original, but has been extended to provide better ventilation.

Finnlandhaus Hamburg

A spacious foyer
The glazed pavilion on the ground floor that forms the entrance to building, was dismantled and replaced by a new steel structure and glazing. The form and surface materials remain identical to the original. The pavilion will be used as a spacious foyer.

Lobby Finnlandhaus Hamburg
Innenaufnahme Finnlandhaus Hamburg

Keeping as close to the original as possible was also the watchword for the foyers, stairways and lift entrances. The materials used in original building such as marble and natural stone were restored to match the historic examples. The passenger lifts were replaced to provide unhindered access and fitted with modern white glass cladding.

Innenaufnahme Finnlandhaus Hamburg

In order to cater for multi-tenant occupancy, all floors now offer space for two separate office units. In order to maximise the room height, a ventilation and lighting concept was developed that makes optimum use of available free space. A new soundproof cavity floor system allows the workstations to be connected beneath the flooring.


Fit for the future
The result of the revitalisation is a modern office building styled like a classic. In appearance, barely distinguishable from its first iteration, the Finnlandhaus nevertheless now appears as new. More sustainable, safer and equipped for contemporary working, it is ready for its second life.

The success factors: teamwork and passion
A decisive factor for the outcome was the close coordination with clients, specialist planners, contractors, the Departments of Monuments and Historic Buildings and Urban Design on ideas, structural possibilities, economic efficiency and design, which all participants pursued with considerable passion and commitment. 

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