Living along the high banks /text


Location: Hanover
Competition: 3. Prize 2013
Client: City of Hanover

Living along the high banks

Located in the old town of Hanover between the historical museum, the square “Ballhofplatz“ and the river “Leine“ a former school area had to be revived. It is a very attractive residential area, yet in its current state it was not well utilized. For this reason, the school and its exterior space was redesigned and revitalized for a school again. Additionally, new apartments should complement the area at the high banks and create an attractive external space. A new urban usage is achieved by sensitively inserting it into the historical and important location.

The two designed residential houses position themselves within the urban gap of the “stone witnesses” – the historical museum, the “Marstall” Gate and the Adult Education Center. The witnesses of that time period define the design parameters for the new constructions that confidently and modernly present themselves at the high banks.

The building volumes were divided in order to take on the urban reference creating permeability from the high banks towards the square and the quarter of the cruciform church. The new buildings connect the very detailed structure of the old part of the town und continue this theme. Also the exterior space pursues this motif; by different heights and scales the green area will be clearly defined. The ensemble creates a new square, receives its own identity and forms the crossover between the high banks and the city center.

The buildings not only architectonically mediate between the city and the timbered houses but also strengthen the appearance of the surrounding and give support for the future. By taking on the classical elements and reinterpreting them, the residential houses gain a slight structure on the stone surface. In combination with the large windows it forms the characteristics of the building ensemble. In total, the houses present themselves in an elegant severity with classical proportions and refer to either side of the city – the old town and the high banks.

Windows with sharp-edged cuts create the contrast to the façade that is made of light, washed brick. In each storey, offsets divide the large stone surface relating to the scale of the surrounding.

Fifteen modern apartments from two to four rooms and 80 to 160 square meters have been designed. In the top floor, five maisonnettes are envisioned. Spacious and generous are the attributes used to describe the atmosphere. The apartments are mainly directed south-west and therefore offer a high quality of living. The well organized floor plan allows for outlooks towards the river as well as to the old town. The flair of the city can also be experienced in the loggias that obtain a private exterior space.