Among the three harbours that we have explored is the Medienhafen of the individualist. In comparison to the harmonious, hermetic Innenhafen (Inner Harbour) in Duisburg (part 1) and the straightforward practicality of the Rheinauhafen in Cologne, it is characterised by architectural variety and diversity in a space that is rather small, compared to the other two harbours. Added to that are the topography and location of the Dusseldorf Neuhafen (New Harbour), which appears airy and transparent with its permeability and its visual axes toward the inner city. One of the most dramatic scenic outlook points is Pebble’s Terrace, with a five-star hotel behind it and a raw panorama of the city and the river. Here, the idea of „The Dorf“ works like the architecture of Dubai or Singapore: The outlook, architecture and ambience succeed in creating a three-way alliance. The fact that, on top of this, the harbour can display so much individual building artistry is due also to the overall strategy of this capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia. With the redesign of the old harbour on the Rhine, there were no surface improvements and no overall architectural-urban design structure. Every plot was individually dealt with and customised for its future users. The result is an architecture that in spite of – or even because of – this direction, seems compact, diverse and exceptionally thrilling in height, width and appearance.

In 1990, the city began the restructuring of the former Zollhafen (Customs Harbour), a small part of the area of the harbour as a whole and contemporaneous with the plans in Duisburg. Dusseldorf’s Rheinturm (1982), or Rhine Tower, had previously been built, and in 1988 the new building of the state parliament followed. Both are only a few minutes away from the Medienhafen, which was suddenly very present in 1999. Frank O. Gehry & Associates and Beucker Maschlanka und Partner had finished the high-contrast Neuer Zollhof, consisting of three buildings, after a three-year building period. Materiality and asymmetry characterised the three-building ensemble: stainless steel, limestone and red clinker bricks define the façades of Haus B, Haus C and Haus A. The ensemble had national and international significance for the development of the Medienhafen. What’s more, it stands as a proxy for the building culture conglomerate and its by now nearly twenty-year history. Whoever visits the area encounters exposed concrete, steel sheet siding and glass panels. There are colourful buildings, cylindrical ones and bold ones. Buildings that are modest, and architectures that show off. Many share their relationship to the water and to the harbour origins of the area in common. In the Rheinauhafen and in the Duisburg Innenhafen, too, the harbour atmosphere is palpable. In the Medienhafen, though, it feels somewhat earthier and more raw. Quay bulkheads, bollards, wrought iron railings and railway lines have acquired a patina, in contrast to the otherwise-busy atmosphere. In this respect, the harbour architecture represents the interplay of design and contradiction, of individualism and the connections to the river, to the city and to the surroundings. Over 800 businesses with a total of nearly 9,000 employees have moved into the neighbourhood and thus take advantage of the image of the Medienhafen, described by the architectural association of North Rhine-Westphalia as an “Architecture Mile.” Over 70% of the resident firms have their main headquarters here. The fact that the harbour architecture will be further developed is clear in the construction sites on Franziusstraße, where the Casa Stupenda (the Stupendous House), by Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) is being developed. What began with Gehry’s deconstructivist-freeform wave of silver, continues with David Chipperfield, Pritzker Prize winner Fumihiko Maki and Helmut Jahn, each in his own way. RPBW’s building follows suit. In our tour along Am Handelshafen and Speditionsstraße, we will point out what the master builders have accomplished, and where. The fact that the buildings that arose here are no mere hodgepodge, the neighbourhood also owes to the versatile interplay of the forms and the creative solutions, which just goes to show you: even individualists can blend in well in a group picture.

Am Handelshafen / Neuer Zollhof

Medienhafen Duesseldorf.  Over 800 businesses with a total of nearly 9,000 employees have moved into the neighbourhood and ...
Medienhafen Duesseldorf Over 800 businesses with a total of nearly 9,000 employees have moved into the neighbourhood and ... © Hendrik Bohle
Medienhafen Duesseldorf.  ... thus take advantage of the image of the Medienhafen, described by the architectural association of North Rhine-Westphalia as an "Architecture Mile." In 1990, the city began the restructuring of the former Zollhafen (Customs Harbour).
Medienhafen Duesseldorf ... thus take advantage of the image of the Medienhafen, described by the architectural association of North Rhine-Westphalia as an "Architecture Mile." In 1990, the city began the restructuring of the former Zollhafen (Customs Harbour). © Hendrik Bohle
Harbour bridge.  By Schüßler-Plan Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH. Completion of the suspension bridge 1992.
Harbour bridge By Schüßler-Plan Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH. Completion of the suspension bridge 1992. © Hendrik Bohle
The city and the rhine river.  View from the rhine embankment promenade, planned by Niklaus Fritschi, Benedikt Stahl und Günter Baum and built between 1990 and 1997. The traffic roars through the tunnel beneath its bluish, wave-patterned pavement. The embankment promenade links the traditional Altstadt (Old Town) to the modern MedienHafen and is lined by cafés and bars.
The city and the rhine river View from the rhine embankment promenade, planned by Niklaus Fritschi, Benedikt Stahl und Günter Baum and built between 1990 and 1997. The traffic roars through the tunnel beneath its bluish, wave-patterned pavement. The embankment promenade links the traditional Altstadt (Old Town) to the modern MedienHafen and is lined by cafés and bars. © Hendrik Bohle
Stadttor 1 (City gate).  By Overdiek Petzinka and Partner. Completion: 1998. 20-storey skyscraper with 84 metre height. It marks the Southern entrance of Rheinufertunnel, which is also reason for its parallelogram-shaped floor plan. The building features a 15-story atrium and a double-facades, allowing natural ventilation even on higher elevation floors.
Stadttor 1 (City gate) By Overdiek Petzinka and Partner. Completion: 1998. 20-storey skyscraper with 84 metre height. It marks the Southern entrance of Rheinufertunnel, which is also reason for its parallelogram-shaped floor plan. The building features a 15-story atrium and a double-facades, allowing natural ventilation even on higher elevation floors. © Jan Dimog
Westdeutscher Rundfunk, broadcasting centre.  By parade architekten. Completion: 1991
Westdeutscher Rundfunk, broadcasting centre By parade architekten. Completion: 1991 © Jan Dimog
Westdeutscher Rundfunk, broadcasting centre.  The hall resembles a radio receiver.
Westdeutscher Rundfunk, broadcasting centre The hall resembles a radio receiver. © Jan Dimog
Neuer Zollhof 1–3.  By Frank O. Gehry. Completion: 1999.
Neuer Zollhof 1–3 By Frank O. Gehry. Completion: 1999. © Hendrik Bohle
Neuer Zollhof 1–3.  World-famous 1990s architectural masterpiece and deconstructivist design.
Neuer Zollhof 1–3 World-famous 1990s architectural masterpiece and deconstructivist design. © Jan Dimog
Neuer Zollhof 1–3.  The complex with three separate high-rise buildings are all different in terms of size, shape and façade. The façade of the middle building is shiny with stainless steel, reflecting the two neighbouring buildings (white plaster and red brick) on its north and south sides.
Neuer Zollhof 1–3 The complex with three separate high-rise buildings are all different in terms of size, shape and façade. The façade of the middle building is shiny with stainless steel, reflecting the two neighbouring buildings (white plaster and red brick) on its north and south sides. © Jan Dimog
Neuer Zollhof 1–3.  The asymmetry of the complex sculptured surfaces could not be depicted with traditional construction drawings ...
Neuer Zollhof 1–3 The asymmetry of the complex sculptured surfaces could not be depicted with traditional construction drawings ... © Jan Dimog
Neuer Zollhof 1–3.  ... and a 3D computer program (CATIA) was therefore used – completely new in the building industry.
Neuer Zollhof 1–3 ... and a 3D computer program (CATIA) was therefore used – completely new in the building industry. © Hendrik Bohle
Neuer Zollhof 1–3.  Each of the windows projecting from the rounded façades also had to be specially designed.
Neuer Zollhof 1–3 Each of the windows projecting from the rounded façades also had to be specially designed. © Jan Dimog
Neuer Zollhof 1–3.  House A: red brick, house B: stainless steel.
Neuer Zollhof 1–3 House A: red brick, house B: stainless steel. © Jan Dimog
Neuer Zollhof 1–3.  The developer, "Kunst- und Medienzentrum Rheinhafen GmbH", commissioned the Dusseldorf-based "BM+P-Architekten und Stadtplaner Beucker Maschlanka und Partner" and "Philipp Holzmann Bauprojekt AG Niederlassung Dusseldorf" with the execution of Gehry’s designs.
Neuer Zollhof 1–3 The developer, "Kunst- und Medienzentrum Rheinhafen GmbH", commissioned the Dusseldorf-based "BM+P-Architekten und Stadtplaner Beucker Maschlanka und Partner" and "Philipp Holzmann Bauprojekt AG Niederlassung Dusseldorf" with the execution of Gehry’s designs. © Hendrik Bohle
Kai Center.  By Döring Dahmen Joeressen. Completion: 1996.
Kai Center By Döring Dahmen Joeressen. Completion: 1996. © Jan Dimog
Kaistraße 16.  By David Chipperfield. Completion: 1997. The building comprises two interlocking forms: an in-situ rectangular concrete mass placed vertically alongside and over a black steel frame.
Kaistraße 16 By David Chipperfield. Completion: 1997. The building comprises two interlocking forms: an in-situ rectangular concrete mass placed vertically alongside and over a black steel frame. © Hendrik Bohle
Am Handelshafen 4.  PEC Port Event Center und DOCK – Dusseldorf Office Center. By Jo Coenen, Maastricht. Completion: 2002. The "Wolkenbügel" by Professor Wansleben, Cologne. Completion 2002. 
Right: the Colorium building.
Am Handelshafen 4 PEC Port Event Center und DOCK – Dusseldorf Office Center. By Jo Coenen, Maastricht. Completion: 2002. The "Wolkenbügel" by Professor Wansleben, Cologne. Completion 2002. Right: the Colorium building. © Jan Dimog

Speditionsstraße / Julo-Levin-Ufer

Alte Mälzerei (old malthouse).  Renovated, planned by Bob Gansfort, completion: 2002.
Alte Mälzerei (old malthouse) Renovated, planned by Bob Gansfort, completion: 2002. © Jan Dimog
SIGN!.  By Murphy / Jahn, Chicago / Berlin. Completion: 2010. The plan is a “Roundangle” whose curved corners continue to form a semi-circular roof. Elevators and stairs are in a separate rectangle of glass. Columns with brackets along the exterior wall enable column-free spaces in the office areas.
SIGN! By Murphy / Jahn, Chicago / Berlin. Completion: 2010. The plan is a “Roundangle” whose curved corners continue to form a semi-circular roof. Elevators and stairs are in a separate rectangle of glass. Columns with brackets along the exterior wall enable column-free spaces in the office areas. © Jan Dimog
Maki Solitaire office building.  By Fumihiko Maki, Japan, Completion: 2001
Maki Solitaire office building By Fumihiko Maki, Japan, Completion: 2001 © Jan Dimog
Maki Solitaire office building.  Eight-storey office building by Maki, who received the Pritzker Prize for his work in 1993.
Maki Solitaire office building Eight-storey office building by Maki, who received the Pritzker Prize for his work in 1993. © Hendrik Bohle
Am Handelshafen.  View from Julo-Levin-Ufer with the Gehry complex (Neuer Zollhof 1–3), the Chipperfield building, the bridge with the pavilion by sop architekten (slapa oberholz pszczulny). The white tower was planned by renowned American architect Steven Holl (with Ingenhoven Overdiek Kahlen + Partner).
Am Handelshafen View from Julo-Levin-Ufer with the Gehry complex (Neuer Zollhof 1–3), the Chipperfield building, the bridge with the pavilion by sop architekten (slapa oberholz pszczulny). The white tower was planned by renowned American architect Steven Holl (with Ingenhoven Overdiek Kahlen + Partner). © Jan Dimog
Colorium.  By William Allen Alsop. Completion: 2001. Using advanced glass technology and 17 distinct types of glass, Alsop (with Störmer) has given the building an elusive and highly pictorial presence in the city.
Colorium By William Allen Alsop. Completion: 2001. Using advanced glass technology and 17 distinct types of glass, Alsop (with Störmer) has given the building an elusive and highly pictorial presence in the city. © Jan Dimog
Alte Mälzerei, Colorium, Dock 13.  Left: Old mill ("Alte Mälzerei"), Colorium in the middle, right: “Dock 13” by Dr. Alberto Priolo
Alte Mälzerei, Colorium, Dock 13 Left: Old mill ("Alte Mälzerei"), Colorium in the middle, right: “Dock 13” by Dr. Alberto Priolo © Hendrik Bohle
Speditionstraße 17.  By Ingenhoven Overdiek Architekten. Completion: 2002
Speditionstraße 17 By Ingenhoven Overdiek Architekten. Completion: 2002 © Jan Dimog
The Living Bridge.  Length 150 m by sop architekten (on behalf of JSK architects). Completion: 2005.
The Living Bridge Length 150 m by sop architekten (on behalf of JSK architects). Completion: 2005. © Hendrik Bohle
The Living Bridge.  By sop architekten with a restaurant and a terrace.
The Living Bridge By sop architekten with a restaurant and a terrace. © Hendrik Bohle
The tip of Speditionstraße 19.  By sop architekten (on behalf of JSK architects). Completion: 2010. Twin towers with the Hyatt Regency Hotel and offices. sop architekten are also responsible for the new trivago campus.
The tip of Speditionstraße 19 By sop architekten (on behalf of JSK architects). Completion: 2010. Twin towers with the Hyatt Regency Hotel and offices. sop architekten are also responsible for the new trivago campus. © Hendrik Bohle
Spaceship.  The shape of this demanding architectural design (with 300 m2 manually finished, stainless steel shingles) is based on its spatial environs – namely, where the arm of the harbour flows into the Rhine. 
By sop architekten on behalf of JSK Architects, Dusseldorf.
Spaceship The shape of this demanding architectural design (with 300 m2 manually finished, stainless steel shingles) is based on its spatial environs – namely, where the arm of the harbour flows into the Rhine. By sop architekten on behalf of JSK Architects, Dusseldorf. © Hendrik Bohle
Pillar saint "Marlis" with the rhine tower.  TV tower by Harald Deilmann. Completion: 1982. Height: 234 m. "Marlis" by Christoph Poggeler, who presented his "pillar saint" since 2001 with sculptures of people on advertising pillars. Poggeler on the bases of advertising pillars puts children, couples, businessmen, holiday-makers or homeless - all in the Dusseldorf city centre. People from the middle of society - lifted out of the everyday life.
Pillar saint "Marlis" with the rhine tower TV tower by Harald Deilmann. Completion: 1982. Height: 234 m. "Marlis" by Christoph Poggeler, who presented his "pillar saint" since 2001 with sculptures of people on advertising pillars. Poggeler on the bases of advertising pillars puts children, couples, businessmen, holiday-makers or homeless - all in the Dusseldorf city centre. People from the middle of society - lifted out of the everyday life. © Jan Dimog

me and all hotels Dusseldorf

me and all hotels.  We stayed overnight in the me and all hotels Dusseldorf, at their invitation.
me and all hotels We stayed overnight in the me and all hotels Dusseldorf, at their invitation. © Hendrik Bohle
me and all hotels.  By GNA Grimbacher Nogales Architekten.
me and all hotels By GNA Grimbacher Nogales Architekten. © Hendrik Bohle
me and all hotels.  Geplan Design from Stuttgart combined the interior design with warm wood, fine industrial style and a complementary vintage look.
me and all hotels Geplan Design from Stuttgart combined the interior design with warm wood, fine industrial style and a complementary vintage look. © Hendrik Bohle
me and all hotels.  The sliding door separates the room and the bathroom and is part of the solutions that combines materiality with creativity.
me and all hotels The sliding door separates the room and the bathroom and is part of the solutions that combines materiality with creativity. © Jan Dimog
me and all hotels.  Cosmopolitan showroom, with lovingly detailed, minimal design.
me and all hotels Cosmopolitan showroom, with lovingly detailed, minimal design. © Hendrik Bohle
me and all hotels.  The new boutique brand of Lindner Hotels AG, located in the middle of the Japanese quarter, appeals to city and business travellers alike with a deliberately casual, urban atmosphere.
me and all hotels The new boutique brand of Lindner Hotels AG, located in the middle of the Japanese quarter, appeals to city and business travellers alike with a deliberately casual, urban atmosphere. © Jan Dimog

Von Jan Dimog Autor, Redakteur und (Foto)Journalist, veröffentlicht am .