Four generations of architecture
Helmut Hentrich studied with Hans Poelzig in Berlin and worked in various architectural offices around the world until 1933, when, after winning the Schinkel Prize, he founded the company in Düsseldorf, which has since become known as HPP. Two years later he teamed up with Hans Heuser.
The first projects
Most of the early commissions came from the private sector and consisted of residential buildings in Düsseldorf and the surrounding area. One of the first was the Kopfhaus in Inselstrasse near the Hofgarten.
Architecture and Politics
The founding of the company coincided with the seizure of power by the National Socialists and resulted in significant restrictions; creative freedom was increasingly limited. Hentrich writes that his personal contacts enabled him both to avoid having to become a party member until 1940 and to pursue his professional activity continuously until the last weeks of the war.
The cultural and political conservatism of the 1950s contrasts with the prevailing perception of the time, which is probably of greater interest today: the concept of a new lightness that plays with new elements, also in formal terms, and that expressed architecture and design in a successful and popular way.
Particularly at the beginning of the 1950s, rigorous neoclassical perforated grid façades were still to be found. Two of the important projects of the early 1950s were the building for the Victoria insurance company and the building for the C.G. Trinkaus bank, both in Düsseldorf, both with cast stone cladding.
left: Bankhaus C.G. Trinkaus, Düsseldorf (photograph taken in the 1970s), right: Victoria Insurance, Düsseldorf
Aluminiumhaus and Drahthaus, both in Düsseldorf
On the other side of the stylistic spectrum, the Haus des Einzelhandelsverbandes (1952), the Aluminiumhaus (1952/53) and the Drahthaus (1952), built for the Verband der Drahtindustrie (German Wire Industry Federation), all three document the transition to the new transparency in their different façade concepts.
Following Hans Heuser's early death, Helmut Hentrich continued working in partnership with Hubert Petschnigg
The building that was perhaps decisive for the ongoing development of the firm was BASF's new headquarters in Ludwigshafen (competition 1953, opened 1957). As one of the first post-war skyscrapers, at around 102 metres it was the tallest building in Germany at the time of its construction.
The administrative building constructed by Helmut Hentrich and Hubert Petschnigg for Phönix-Rheinrohr AG (Thyssen from 1964) is regarded as one of the icons of German post-war architecture. This was the first steel skeleton construction of its kind in Europe.
More than half a century later we successfully revitalised the Dreischeibenhaus.
formerly Thyssen-Haus,today Dreischeibenhaus
Standard Bank Centre – Johannesburg
We were the first German architectural office to venture abroad. We designed a new head office for the Standard Bank Centre in South Africa in 1968. The first high-rise building in the city at the time was innovative in many respects. The building, designed as a suspended construction, no longer focused on the smooth façade surface that had been customary until then, but rather attained an almost sculptural note with its arms projecting far out of the structured façade.
After appointing new partners the company is now known as HPP Hentrich-Petschnigg & Partner
We developed one of our most striking administrative buildings for Rank Xerox in Düsseldorf, the surrounding emergency escape balconies of which, with their exposed concrete balustrades and steel window ribbons make clear reference to the visual symbols of brutalism popular at the time. Three hexagons, grouped around a towering building core, are staggered at varying heights, resulting in a continuous large office space inside.
Founders Helmut Hentrich (2nd from left) and Hubert Petschnigg (l.) hand over the leadership and personal responsibility of the company to Rüdiger Thoma and Hans Joachim Stutz.
Function vs. functionalism
What we have always been interested in, irrespective of style: historical building fabric - and making the best of it. Helmut Hentrich was already using the local and historical forms of expression as points of orientation for his work - also as a counterpoint to the functional modernism of the many administrative buildings.
This approach has become exemplary for us: to preserve the basic typological form and the external appearance of historical buildings that characterise the cityscape and to renew them for contemporary use by means of interior modifications or conversions.
HPP International Planungsgesellschaft mbH founded to take care of our increasing international projects
The Ruhr University in Bochum, which was completed in 1980, was innovative in many respects: the size of the planned area, an open space of 520 hectares, was new; the proposed combination of natural sciences, engineering and the humanities was new; the incorporation of student residences and a large central cafeteria was new; the university town of Hustadt, located on the neighbouring hill, was new to the university staff; and finally, the speed of the construction works, which led to the initial partial opening just 18 months after the start of construction, was also new.
HPP's design, which won this first major international competition, in which Alvar Aalto, Jacob Berend Bakema, Johannes Hendrik van den Broek, Walter Gropius and others also took part, resulted in a complex large-scale architectural form with parallel, externally identical institute buildings, which were accessed via a wide central axis. Economic efficiency as well as a typification of the unbundling of passenger car and pedestrian traffic were the defining characteristics.
Head Office Victoria Insurance, Düsseldorf
It comes as no surprise that a firm like HPP, which is defined by a clear formal vocabulary committed to modernity, was rather reserved in the face of postmodernism. Nevertheless, we ventured a number of approaches. The first construction phase of the Victoria Insurance headquarters in Düsseldorf is worthy of mention. At the beginning of the 1980s, it found expression in a majestic building with gleaming polished façades and sturdy columns that enclose an atrium-like courtyard of honour in strict symmetry.
Leipzig Central Station
One of the largest projects in the 1990s was the renovation and revitalisation of Leipzig Central Station. Here we were able to show how the meshing of functions - in this case vertically through several floors - can be solved in an exemplary manner. The traditional function as a transport building was combined with that of the shopping arcade while preserving its historical character.
Joachim H. Faust and Hermann Henkel become Managing Partnersand take over leadership of the firm
HPP Service GmbH established
Initial Renovation of the Grand Hotel Heiligendamm
(Location of the 2007 G8 Summit)
Gerhard G. Feldmeyer appointed Managing Partner and together with Hermann Henkel and Joachim H. Faust takes over management of HPP KG.
Henkel Technology Center Asia-Pacific, China
Foundation of the Shanghai office
In 2002, we opened an office in Shanghai as our first permanent location in China. We successfully broke through into the Chinese market with the competition we won in 2006 for the Expo Village at the World Expo in Shanghai 2010. An ensemble of high-rise buildings has been developed on a former industrial site that surprisingly integrates European urban planning principles into China's exploding urban development with its balanced division of open spaces and built-up areas and its stone façades.
Openness, transparency and flexibility, particularly with regard to the spatial design of the offices, are the hallmarks of Santander Bank's new German headquarters in Mönchengladbach built in 2006.
Corporate headquarters in particular have always been one of our key focuses: the corporate headquarters of the 20th century are increasingly turning into identity-generating working environments - both for the employees and for the company - combined with high technical standards and flexible use.
More about our typology expertise
Since January 1st our HPP Headquarters has been located in Düsseldorf's Media Harbour
The Istanbul office opens
Today, the city of Istanbul, with a population of 14 million is regarded as the Shanghai of Europe. The city is broadening and on the Asian side of the city an international financial centre is currently under construction. In 2012, we opened our fourth office outside Germany in the city on the Bosphorus and now have a presence in the city with several major projects, including the AND Tower business tower, the office towers of Maslak Square and the mixed-use quarter AND Pastel.
More than 1000 projects and four generations of Partners, Project Partners, Managing Directors and Boards of Management later:
80 years of HPP!
A decade after its founding, the Shanghai office is one of our fastest growing: More than 60 Chinese and German colleagues are working together on a large number of projects. The opening of our second Chinese office in Beijing comes one year later, in 2017.
In addition to sports buildings such as the Xujiahui Sports Park (image) and the Pudong Soccer Arena , corporate headquarters, research facilities and interior design, urban planning and neighbourhood development are the focal points of our work in China. We develop trend-setting Smart City concepts as examples of the future development of our cities with lower ressource requirements, optimised processes and neighbourhoods worth living in.
Left: Suzhou Waterfront Core Area Design, Shanghai, right: Tusincere Yangze River Science & Technology Town, Shanghai
We design Düsseldorf's first timber-hybrid building. Its sustainable Circular Economy Concept is recognised with the internationally renowned MIPIM/The Architectural Review Future Project Award at the MIPIM Trade Fair held in Cannes. The Cradle is a pilot project and is performing developmental work for the sustainable city of the future. Construction begins in 2019. To the project
In this year we move into our new headquarters in Düsseldorf's Media Harbour. The offices are laid out over a total of more than 3,300 m² as a communicative working environment: open space areas, think tanks, flexible workstations, interactive areas and silent areas.
We're looking forward to many more years of exciting times
Design and execution for newbuild, refurbishment, conversion and listed building projects.
Working environments an inspiring spaces that are exciting to be in and that foster identity.
Neighbourhood and town planning
In Germany we are creating new neighbourhoods, in China we are building entire cities.