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Second Life

Making buildings fit for a second life

Renovation, conversion and refurbishment

For listed and historic buildings

For good reason, the demand for renovating or converting (change of use) buildings is increasing: resources are becoming scarcer and require sustainable use of valuable substances. Modern architecture stands under the signs of protecting, preserving, restoring. We provide all HOAI service phases to make buildings fit for a second life, taking into account the structural and cultural context. 

Dreischeibenhaus Düsseldorf

Dreischeibenhaus Düsseldorf

Modernization of an icon

Preserving and enhancing value

The basis of every good renovation is an intensive analysis of the existing stock. 85 years of company history also mean that we often make our own buildings fit for a second life. From decades of experience, we generally recommend thorough analysis of the building structure.

Thorough analysis of the existing structure

During the analysis we get to know the identity of the building: What are its strengths, what are its weaknesses? For example, is a conversion, i.e. a change of use of parts of the building or the entire building, possible? Only when these questions have been clarified do we deal with the technical questions of fire and noise protection, building physics, acoustics, etc. Here, too, we always seek solutions in dialogue, especially when conservation is an issue. 
The early involvement of the authorities makes it possible to find solutions that preserve identity and at the same time are pragmatic. 

The best listed building is a living, used and functioning one.

Our philosophy: The best listed building is a living, used and functioning one! We preserve the values of each building and find solutions to further enhance and develop its use. 


Kongresshalle am Zoo Leipzig

Congress Centre Leipzig

The old charm restored
to new splendour

Preserving identity
In the case of valuable and listed properties, we are generally in favour of renovation. This is demonstrated by buildings that we have built and modernised decades later: Such as the Emporio Tower in Hamburg, the former Unilever Tower, the Dreischeibenhaus in Düsseldorf or the Finnlandhaus in Hamburg. In addition to energy-efficient upgrading, the sustainability of such projects consists in preserving the existing architecture while conserving resources.


Developing identity
In the case of an office property without a special identity or functionality, it may be that (partial) demolition or conversion is preferable to refurbishment. The opportunity: to develop a completely new identity for the building. 

For example, maxCologne: Hochtief's project developers commissioned us at the time to do just that for the modernisation of the former Lufthansa high-rise in Cologne. The result is a completely new architecture.

Rhein mit dem maxCologne auf der rechten Seite
Außenaufnahme maxCologne

Enabling modern uses
Since our working worlds are increasingly developing into 'open-space areas', in the future even the deepest existing floor plans will have a chance of redevelopment. They allow a communicative organisation with glass meeting areas and conference zones in the central axis.


Baloon, Munich
Bennigsenplatz B1, Düsseldorf
Central Railway Station Leipzig
Commerzbank Tower, Düsseldorf (conversion from office to hotel)
Deutsche Rentenversicherung, Berlin
Emporio Tower, Hamburg (formerly Unilever)
Finnlandhaus, Hamburg
Foyer Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn
Haus der Universität, Düsseldorf
Hotel Breidenbacher Hof, Düsseldorf
Hotel Mandarin Oriental, Munich
HSBC Trinkaus, Düsseldorf
max Cologne / Lanxess Tower, Cologne
Neue Höfe Herne (formerly Hertie department store)
Office Building Yanpgu Lanzhou Road, Shanghai
Opera House Leipzig
Pandion Balance, Cologne (conversion from office to residential)
Police Headquarters, Düsseldorf
PSD Bank West, Cologne
Rosenquartier, Leipzig
RTL Rheinhallen, Cologne
Tonhalle, Düsseldorf
Town Hall, Marl
TÜV Rheinland, Cologne
University of the Performing Arts Cologne
Vanke In-Bund Office Building, Shanghai
Westfalenhallen Dortmund, north entrance

Our other services


Design and execution for newbuild, refurbishment, conversion and listed building projects.

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Interior design

Working environments and inspiring spaces that are exciting to be in and that foster identity.

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Neighbourhood and urban design

In Germany we are creating nighbourhoods, in China we are building new cities.

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Lead consulting

The whole design process under one roof.

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Project management

Representing the interests of the client and ensuring the quality of the work produced.

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