Photo © Jens Willebrand
Photo © Jens Willebrand
Photo © Jens Willebrand

Cologne Rheinhallen

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Cologne, Germany

The Rheinhallen in Cologne were built in 1924 on the initiative of the mayor, Konrad Adenauer, on the right bank of the Rhine in Deutz with a direct view of the city cathedral. Several expansions carried out within a short period of time, however, led to a state of disorder. Therefore, on the occasion of the International Press Exhibition (Pressa) in 1928, the heterogeneous exhibition halls were consolidated into a single complex through the addition of a unifying brick perimeter façade. In 2005 the halls, which the Cologne Fair organization had long used as their fairgrounds thanks to a hereditary lease, were returned to the city of Cologne. When the most prominent future tenant, the private television station RTL, decided to move into the halls, the landmark-protected complex, which was comprised of the Expressionistic brick façade, the fair tower on the northwest side, and the Ehrenhof, was converted and completely refurbished.

To maintain the outward architectural and urban design appearance of the historic Rheinhallen, an ultramodern administration complex with an integrated broadcast center is being built behind the landmark-protected façade for the two main users, RTL and Talanx AG, an insurance group. In order to do this, the original halls were torn down and replaced with two chamberlike, four-story structures that correspond to the height of the original façades. In the access hall located in the middle of the two structures, the building height rises to six stories. With a length of 200 meters, the hall constitutes a connection between the Ehrenhof and the Tanzbrunnen, and thanks to its innovative roof made of a plastic pillow construction, it can be also used as a flexible space for hosting special events. A central, glass-encased structure in the north of the new access hall functions as the main entrance to and connecting structure for the RTL area and as a contemporary counterpart to the historic Ehrenhof to the south. A “sky lobby” was integrated within it as a main entrance to Talanx’s spaces. The ensemble is being expanded on its northeast side by a new seven-story parking garage, which has space for about 2,000 cars and a bridge that connects it to the Rheinhallen. The SAT television antennae are positioned on the roof of the parking garage.
The historical brick façade is statically supported by a steel skeleton construction that has been cleaned and furnished with new zinc sheet facings. The façades of the new structures are conceived as room-high, glass-encased, light metal façade elements. Every other window axis has a wing-shaped opening, so that the offices can be naturally ventilated by opening the windows. The new hall façades are furnished with a hanging steel frame construction as an articulating element. The closed panels of the new hall façades are equipped with acoustic surfaces in the form of a perforated wooden facing. With their reddish hue, they make reference to the red brick façade and lend a warm atmosphere to the hall.

Main users:
RTL Television, Talanx

163.000 sqm

Work Stations

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