Photo © Adam Mørk
Photo © Adam Mørk
Photo © Adam Mørk
Drawing © Behnisch Architekten
Picture © Behnisch Architekten


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Strandkai 1, 20457 Hamburg, Germany

The new Unilever headquarter building for Germany, Austria and Switzerland is located right by the river Elbe in Hamburg’s HafenCity. It marks the end of the route out of the town centre to Hamburg’s new attractions: the cruise ship terminal and the promenade on Strandkai. Here Unilever’s new building opens itself up to the city and its inhabitants. The central element and heart of the design is the generous atrium, flooded by daylight, which, on the ground floor, gives passers-by the opportunity to get to know the company better while browsing in the shop stocked with Unilever products, sitting in the cafe or relaxing in the spa. The atrium is also the central location for people to meet and communicate. As in a city, bridges, ramps and steps connect central spaces with each other. Here people can meet, talk and enjoy the inspiring ambiance. Vibrant and communicative interaction evolves, thereby fostering a feeling of togetherness among the employees. The workplace is no longer a separate department. The building itself reinforces the identity of the company. The building follows the principles of holistic, sustainable architecture. While implementing technologies that help save resources, the energy concept adheres to the principle of avoiding technical solutions wherever possible. The office area is cooled by means of thermally activated reinforced concrete ceilings. A single-layer film facade placed in front of the building’s insulation glazing protects the daylight-optimized blinds from strong wind and other weather influences. The building’s primary energy consumption during operation will be under 100 kWh/a m². A newly developed SMD-LED system has been deployed both for the building’s general lighting and for workplace lighting. This system is up to 70% more efficient than conventional halogen or metal halide lighting. The Unilever building received the newly established HafenCity EcoLabel in gold.

HOCHTIEF Projektentwicklung

Behnisch Architekten

2006, 1st prize

Planning and construction


38,000 m² / 409.000 sq.ft.

165.000 m³ / 5.826.150 cu.ft.

2011 Umweltzertifikat der HafenCity Hamburg in Gold
2011 Schüco Green Building Award
2011 Nominated for Mies van der Rohe Award
2010 BDA Hamburg Architektur Preis 2010
2010 BDA / Die WELT Publikums Architektur Preis 2010, Place two
2010 Nominated for Best Office Award (5 nominations)
2010 Green Good Design Award
2010 Prime Property Award, 3rd prize (presented to the Client)
2010 RIBA International Award
2009 Umweltzertifikat der HafenCity Hamburg in Gold, Vorzertifizierung
2009 BEX Award, category “Outstanding Contribution to the Built Environment of Hamburg”

Other Projects by Behnisch Architekten

Dorotheen Quartier
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'Haus im Haus' - Hamburg Chamber of Commerce
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Ergolding, Germany