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Second Life

Making buildings fit for a second life

Revitalisation, conversion and refurbishment

For listed and historic buildings

For good reason, the demand for revitalising 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 revitalisation 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. We know from our decades of experience, where surprises can be hiding, even in buildings that we did not build, and therefore recommend thorough analysis of the building structure.

"A sucessful revitalisation project depends on a thorough analysis of the existing structure."

Claudia Roggenkämper, Partner HPP

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 only good listed building is living, functioning listed building that is put to good use.

Our philosophy: The only good preserved building is a living, used and functioning one! For this reason, we preserve the values of each building, but also find solutions to further enhance and develop its use. 


Refurbishment means modernising the energy systems e.g. laying new pipes and cables, new heating and cooling systems, all other new technical systems, fire protection. The existing building is conserved.

Changes to the existing building that go beyond refurbishment of the energy systems (both on a physical and aesthetic level), e.g. the demolition of partition walls to create open-space areas for modern working environments or to improve access.


The term conversion refers to the change of use or function of a building, e.g. from an office building to a residential building or from an industrial facility to an office building. This usually requires the most extensive modification of the structure.


Conservation of listed buildings
In all three of the above tasks, the existing building may be listed. The more radical the interventions are, the more intensively we coordinate our activities with the preservation authorities.

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.

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.


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

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 town development

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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