Here, RLI talks to Werner Suebai, a Partner with HPP Architects, about the practice’s successes throughout the past year, its two latest shopping centre projects, Loop 5 and Town Hall Gallery, and its much-anticipated portfolio of completions in 2010, including the much-vaunted landmark development, Shanghai Expo Village.
One of Germany’s leading architectural partnerships, Hentrich-Petschnigg & Partner (HPP) has, for the past 70 years, been producing buildings of every type and size in Germany and abroad. Providing a full range of architectural and masterplanning services, HPP specialises in the design of corporate headquarters, hotels, hospitals, sport and leisure facilities, shopping centres, transport buildings, town planning, residential units and in refurbishment and listed building projects.
The Düsseldorf-based partnership is now in its fourth generation since it was founded in 1935 by Professor Hentrich, and today comprises 12 offices with 250 employees in Germany and abroad. Its latest projects to attract international attention are the winning designs for the ‘Shanghai Expo Village’ and the ‘Europe Tower Sofia’. In addition to its head office in the Düsseldorf Media Harbor, the practice also has offices in Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich, Stuttgart, Shanghai and Sofia.
Despite the economic slump, HPP enjoyed a successful year in 2009, laying two foundations and attending two topping-out ceremonies and a groundbreaking ceremony. The practice also won two competitions and also completed two major projects, including the BayArena Leverkusen stadium for leading Bundesliga football team, Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
HPP also completed Loop 5 in Weiterstadt. Distinctive, accessible, and unmistakable – these were the key concepts to be incorporated into the design of this new shopping centre. With 100,000sq m GFA it is one of the largest shopping centres in Germany.
The architects at HPP started designing shopping centres in the 1980s. The ‘Olivandenhof’ (1988) in Cologne marked the beginning of HPP’s work in planning shopping centres, such as the ‘Promenaden’ in Leipzig’s Central Railway Station (1997), the ‘Petersbogen’ in Leipzig or the ‘Arcaden’ in Cologne (2005) or the two ‘Ring Centres’ in Berlin (1997).
“Loop 5 is the most important retail project that we have ever worked on,” comments Werner Suebai, Partner, HPP Architects. “It was really fun, not just professionally but also on a personal level; we worked seamlessly with the design department of Sonae Sierra and were delighted to take over the supporting role.”
This is the second centre in Germany to be planned as a themed centre, which brings a completely new spirit and atmosphere to the German market. “Working together, we created a unique design environment; whilst in the UK, people are used to these sorts of shopping centres, this is something quite different for the German people,” he says.
The themed environment at Loop 5 is ‘Aviation’, the idea for which arose out of the shopping centre’s proximity to Frankfurt Airport and the ‘ESCO’ – the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt. The name ‘Loop 5’ says it all – architecturally, creatively and instrumentally, and at the same time carries the message of the design and its content; it sets the scene for a unique emotional experience and thereby awakens expectations and makes promises that the shopping centre fulfils with its every detail.
For the full article, please see the April 2010 issue.