Modern Cologne

The Cathedral and the Romanesque churches - how could it be otherwise in Cologne - dominate the skyline as they have since time immemorial. But the process of change after the city's destruction during World War II is apparent: leading architects have set new highlights - cautiously, with respect for the unmistakable historic face of the city.

Considering modern and surprising architecture Cologne has a lot to offer: Some of Germany’s most important new buildings by international architects including O. M. Ungers, Nicholas Grimshaw, Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel, Rem Koolhaas and Peter Zumthor can be found here.

A former gourmet restaurant built by architect Wilhelm Riphahn, today the »Bastei« (1924) is used for conventions and special events.
The 17-storey Hansahochhaus (1925) is based on the plans of Jakob Koerfer. At the time of construction, the clinker building, measuring 65 metres in height, was Cologne's first high-rise building, and simultaneously the highest »skyscraper« in Europe.

Pioneering architecture after World War II

Urban centres on the Neumarkt are the Josef-Haubrich-Forum (1967) with its medical centre and facing it on the north side, three extensive covered shopping malls - the longest in Germany. In over 100,000 sq.m., visitors can stroll without getting their feet wet between specialist stores, boutiques, department stores or gourmet bistros.
Anyone who approaches the city from the right bank will recognize, especially here, how the architecture uses old forms and adapts them to new requirements. The shed roofs of the new museum complex (1986) in the highly sensitive vicinity of the Cathedral, formally pick up the Gothic arches of the Cathedral stays and at the same time ensure adequate light in the interior of the exhibition rooms. Luxurious but discreet residential architecture around the church of Gross St. Martin in the Old Town creates a square full of tranquillity and intimacy.

Cologne's inner ring road is slowly regaining its big city boulevard character after extensive war damage. Close to the Hansaring, the MediaPark is an ultra-modern city district on the site of the former rail goods terminal. The bold architecture of the Cinedom multiplex cinema (1990), the Jean Nouvel tower and other new buildings provide a harmonious setting for German and international companies in the communication and entertainment business. On the Rudolfplatz, the Sparkasse KölnBonn (savings bank) presents the sweeping lines of its glazed headquarters (1992).
The tip of the Rheinauhafen (port) is now adorned by the Chocolate Museum (1993), like the transparent bow of a ship, with its magnificent panoramic view of the Rhine. On the other side of the Rhine in Deutz, right alongside the Exhibition Centre, the huge Lanxess Arena (1998) beneath its imposing 76-metre high steel arc which bears the roof of Germany's largest and most modern indoor event venue, together with the glass front of the City of Cologne's new technical town hall, set new accents on the skyline.

Die Kranhäuser im Rheinauhafen

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Sky high

The »Cologne Tower« (2001) in the MediaPark doesn’t offer a visitor platform but features, instead, the restaurant on the 30th floor. The splendid views range across Cologne’s city centre with the Cathedral, central train station and Lanxess Arena, to the Bergisch Land, the TV tower in Düsseldorf, right up to the Siebengebirge (Seven Mountains).
Visitors get the best view to Cologne’s most attractive side with its Cathedral, Old City and the »Rheinauhafen« from the right side of the Rhine in Cologne-Deutz – from the panoramic platform of the »Cologne Triangle« (2004). The glass tower which is more than 100 metres high rises up over Cologne’s skyline and defines the city’s panorama as a symbol of modern architecture which can be see from afar.

And, in 2006, the »Weltstadthaus« (2005) in the Schildergasse by star architect Renzo Piano won the renowned architectural prize of the Cannes real estate exhibition – the MIPIM Award.
How harmoniously the old can blend into the new can be seen particularly impressively near Cologne Cathedral. Notable Swiss architect, Peter Zumthor, designed a very special building for the archiepiscopal diocesan museum – the »Kolumba« (2007). The foundation stone of the museum was laid in 2003 and it was opened in 2007 by Cardinal Meisner. The building incorporates both the foundations of the Roman church of St. Kolumba, damaged during the Second World War, as well as the »Madonna in the Ruins« chapel, built in its place in 1950. The latter is fully enclosed by the modern museum building but can be entered by a separate entrance.

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Current real estate projects






Rheinauhafen Cologne has become one of Germany’s top property locations, not least with a series of ambitious building projects with around 300,000 sqm newly rented office space. One of the most unusual buildings are the three »Kranhäuser« (crane houses) in the Rheinauhafen which, with their upper floors, rise up over the river and their appearance is based on the historic industrial cranes. An exciting mix of urban living and working, culture and leisure is also planned for the 15 hectare site of Cologne’s former goods transport harbour. The site will include squares and promenades, cafes, restaurants and retail trade. Historic buildings, too, remain preserved, for example the listed port granaries. These have been functionally incorporated as restaurants or office buildings by interior conversion work.
With the settlement of internationally important companies, such as Microsoft in the »Rheinau Art Office« or Electronic Arts in the »Bench«, the Rheinauhafen is also establishing itself as the most important area in multimedia. Artists are also inspired by the bold mix of old and new here – the »Kunsthaus Rhenania«, a former warehouse which was renovated in 2004, offers studios and function rooms for around 50 artists from all fields ranging from music and theatre to sculpture and photography and film.
The design and art hotel art’otel cologne has been opened in March 2010 and offers 218 rooms, 400 sqm conference space, the restaurant »Chino Latino«, as well as a sauna on the roof. With its permanent exhibition of works by Korean artist SEO, the art’otel further extends the art activities in the Rheinauhafen. From the beginning, the new hotel’s construction intended an environment-friendly utilization: Energy supply is provided by the medium voltage network and district heating as beneficial energy sources.





Offices with a Stunning View towards the City

Right next to the river Rhine at the Deutzer Brücke (Deutzer Bridge), HOCHTIEF Project Development is raising the new landmark maxCologne, which offers a view of the old city of Cologne and the Cathedral. For this purpose, two existing buildings from the 1970s – the high-rise building and the Rheinetagen (Rhine Storeys) – will be revitalised from scratch. On approximately 46 000 square metres, high-quality and flexibly divisible rental office space is being created. Further assets of this top-class property are its prominent location, the ideal infrastructure and traffic connections as well as excellent local amenities. In addition, the right bank of the river Rhine in Cologne is enhanced by the new Rhine Boulevard with its set of terraces. As a result, the building ensemble maxCologne is located at this redesigned, prominent city square of Cologne. The comprehensive revitalisation measures create the conditions for high-quality office space according to new building standards.
The ecological conception of maxCologne is based on efficiency and sustained economic effectiveness: the modern facades are equipped with integrated, individually adjustable sun shades and designed in such a way that rooms can be flexibly ventilated both naturally and mechanically. Ground water from two wells regulates temperatures within the office space by means of heating and cooling ceilings without draught appearance. During the course of the revitalisation, ecological building substances and materials will be used. Another »green« aspect: thanks to the already implemented dismantling of the basement floor, urban space is being regained. Spacious grounds enhance the quality of the location and connect maxCologne with the historic building structure of the surrounding area. All these attributes have earned the project the pre-certificate in gold of the German Society for Sustainable Building (DGNB) in recognition of its ecological, socio-cultural and economic quality.
In December 2009, the project maxCologne has been sold to a special fund of the real-estate investment company Warburg - Henderson  Kapitalanlagegesellschaft für Immobilien mbH, advised  by HIH Hamburgische Immobilien Handlung GmbH. The sole investor is the pension fund Rheinische Versorgungskassen.

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