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A Pilot Project for

the Sustainable City

The Cradle

Client: INTERBODEN / Location: Düsseldorf  / GFA: 5200 m² / Completion: 2022
Awards: MIPIM/The Architectural Review Future Project Award 2018, ICONIC AWARD: Innovative Architecture 2018

Service: Architecture


Cities as Economic Engines

According to a study carried out by the OECD, cities and metropolitan regions are responsible for the majority of the economic performance of a country. This necessarily means that they have significantly higher materials and energy requirements, and this in turn places an enormous respsonsibility on the cities.

Internationally, the building sector is responsible for approx. 50% of resource consumption and approx. 40% of energy consumption.

Ecologically Sustainable Construction
A sustainable city has low levels of energy consumption, uses space with an eye to the future and produces as little non-recyclable material as possible. What does the architecture of the new thinking in urban planning and building look like? What can it do for the city before and after it has been used?

In Building The Cradle, We are Building the Future

Inspired by the Cradle to Cradle ® concept, our design for the timber hybrid building The Cradle in Düsseldorf shows how architecture makes the sustainable city possible.


Buildings as part of the Circular Economy

To understand buildings as part of the Circular Economy and to specify materials and products according to their reusability, is the guiding principle and lies at the heart of our concept. We aim towards circular solutions along the entire length of the value chain, such that we not only retain existing values but also create new ones. This new method of construction is a challenge –  one, that is eminently worthwhile conquering.


"The Media Harbour is a beacon of innovation."

Cornelia Zuschke, Chief Planning Officer, City of Düsseldorf

"our work here is developmental, we have the opportunity to create fresh impetus in a prominent part of Düsseldorf", said Gerhard Feldmeyer, Senior Partner at HPP. In many ways, THE CRADLE is a pilot project –  we are trying out innovative solutions here, in order to develop the foundations for the standards for the future.


Added-Value for the People, the Environment and the Neighbourhood

The Cradle is creating added value for the people, who will use it, for the environment through recycling and upcycling and for the neighbourhood in which the building stands by means of the enhancement it brings. The users will benefit from the pleasant and healthy working atmosphere, achieved through the use of contaminant-free materials. At the same time, the building will serve its users and the residents of the neighbourhood: as a new Mobility Hub, providing car and bike-sharing facilities.


In Detail

The innovative wooden supporting structure was developed in integral cooperation with the structural engineers, Knippers Helbig and the energy consultants from Transsolar. The façade takes on structural and shading functions as well as the natural ventilation concept and forms loggias with a view of the water. Depending on the position and the urban context, the external construction varies in depth and orientation: offering effective, broad solar protection or with reduced depth.

In addition to the climate-friendly construction method, the building's mobility concept is trend-setting: A service point for mobility, a so-called "Mobility Hub", will be established on the ground floor. Here, building users and neighbourhood residents will have access to a service primarily geared to e-mobility, with charging stations or car and bike sharing facilities. Services and information are communicated via the neighbourhood network and the Animus® service app.  


In the spirit of the Circular Economy, components are reversibly connected so that they can be recycled after use. In addition, healthy and fully recyclable building products are used or even leased from the manufacturer for their lifetime - THE CRADLE thus becomes a material depot. The "Material Passport" lists all the materials used, which provides precise information about the available stock and for later dismantling. 

The Cradle aims to do things better than just make them 'less bad' and to generate a positive footprint for people and the environment. Firstly, it is in this sense that the basic principle of designing a timber hybrid building must be understood: Timber stores CO2 and thus improves the CO2 footprint of the project right from the start. In addition, the user is offered a healthy and pleasant working atmosphere, which is achieved, among other things, by using non-toxic materials. The air in the neighborhood is improved by green roofs and the environment is alleviated by the use of rainwater and grey water.

Visualisierung The Cradle Düsseldorf

"The free-standing building with around 5,200 m² of usable space and 600 m² of space for gastronomic uses in a direct waterfront location will enrich the harbour".
Carsten Böll, INTERBODEN

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