Behnisch and Partner: Norddeutsche Landesbank
Hanover, Germany, 2002

Banks, Sport & Wellness, Restaurants, Landscape, Offices, Store, Gallery,



Behnisch and Partner's new Norddeutsche Landesbank building was completed in 2002, on Hanover's Friedrichswall, a street connecting the city centre with residential neighbourhoods to the south.

Behnisch and Partner: Norddeutsche Landesbank<br> Hanover, Germany, 2002 The building measures a total of 40,000 square metres and will provide office space for a staff of about 1500. It starts out as a regular platform, from which a seventeen-storey building rises about seventy metres into the air, divided into horizontal blocks set at different angles.
A light coat of steel cables and glass covers the projecting parts of the building: a "stretched flexible structure" of the kind normally used in suspended roofs, capable of resisting tensile stress.
The asymmetrical, strongly expressionist Norddeutsche Landesbank building stands out from the monotony of the city of Hanover as different from either the housing developments to the south or the tall buildings north of Friedrischwall.
The building's ground floor is a public space offering restaurants, shops, coffee shops and exhibition galleries.
Inside are a large courtyard designed with careful attention to detail, as is apparent in its beautiful fountains and variety of vegetation. Numerous treed pathways branch off from this open space to the nearby "Maschpark" and southern Hanover.
The site of the Norddeutsche Landesbank is to all intents and purposes a transition zone between the city's bustling centre of business, bureaucracy and culture and its quiet residential neighbourhoods.

The Hanover project is the most complex project yet built by Behnisch and Partner: its outstanding feature is perfect integration of the architecture with the surrounding landscape. In addition, the building is constructed with perfect respect for the canons of sustainable architecture, as demonstrated by its optimisation of energy consumption.
The need to guarantee the best possible environmental quality lies at the heart of the project, even where the volumetric complexity of the construction has to pay the price.
The offices have no air conditioning system, but double facades permit natural ventilation.
And what is more, a soil-heat-exchanger helps maintain a perfect microclimate in both winter and summer; air is released into the building through the floor slabs.
Another energy-saving measure used in the construction of the Norddeutsche Landesbank is optimisation of natural lighting in such a way as to guarantee the greatest possible thermal comfort too.
The Hanover bank is the latest project by Günter Behnisch and his son Stefan and also the most innovative; the critics have spoken of a turn to "deconstructivism" in view of the informal, contrasting elements in the building's architecture. While Behnisch and Partner's earlier projects where characterised by inflexible forms and a rather organic style, this building has no axes of reference or regular geometries.
Angular volumes and discontinuous forms create a modern construction in which co-penetration of planes and spatial deformation constitute highly dynamic elements. The result is a building which stands out as completely different from the city's uniform skyline.

Floriana De Rosa


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