Photographs by Adam Mork
Dramatically perched on the banks of the Elbe River in Hamburg, Germany, the 408,880-square-foot structure is the new corporate headquarters for Unilever’s operations in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Unileverhaus is situated in the HafenCity section of Hamburg, a bustling new urban axis founded on sustainability practices that extends from the city center to the harbor.
Public spaces flow from a soaring central atrium to the riverfront; on the city-facing side, a large terrace integrates the building with an exciting urban landscape. Unileverhaus’ close proximity to the cruise terminal lends a maritime flair to the site, and its dynamic membrane and white exterior skin reflect both water and sky for a light, airy, and transparent effect.
It was given the BEX Award for “Outstanding Contribution to the Built Environment" by the World Green Building Council, in recognition of how it maximizes sustainability, community, and panoramic views.
The Behnisch Architekten team worked in close partnership with building developer HOCHTIEF Projektentwicklung and the global consumer products giant Unilever (Dove, Q-Tip, Lipton, Knorr, Snuggle, Wisk, etc.) to create an edifice that represents their mutual commitment to sustainability. The result is a structure that embodies Unilever’s core “Vitality Mission”—it fosters vibrant interaction among employees, and simultaneously embraces and activates the public realm.
Energy consumption has been minimized throughout the Behnisch Architekten-designed building. A fresh and iconic landmark for Hamburg, Unileverhaus has received the newly established HafenCity Gold EcoLabel for extraordinary performance in building sustainability—a ranking that exceeds the standards required to achieve LEED Platinum.