Bugrahan Sirin
Associate Partner
HPP Architects, Düsseldorf

Modernism, now stretching beyond a century, is still the most relevant artistic movement of today regarding architecture. High-rise buildings joined this journey around mid-century, immediately becoming a major defining element of the modern city. Several pioneers have added significant achievements to this typology by defining the basic set of guidelines with their landmark designs. Two pioneers, Professor Helmut Hentrich and Hubert Petschnigg, started their commercial architectural practice before WWII, and built their first high-rises in Germany around the sixties.

Today these Mid-Century Modernist buildings are being commemorated for their 50-year life-cycle as historical cultural landmarks, but also, due to recent successful renovations, now have new reason to celebrate. The task at hand was to meet the contemporary demands of a rapidly changing working society while fulfilling the most state-of-the-art technical and environmental standards and still remaining true to the high-rises’ original built purpose. In addition, how can architects and designers conquer today's challenges of increasing commercial pressure and a tightening competitive market?

Five iconic buildings, built between 1957 and 1972, have proven to carry significant architectural, commercial and social value, making them at that time in history, as well as today, the most prestigious buildings of their cities. For this investigation, original blueprints, sketches, and imagery, unearthed for the first time, expose the inner dynamics of their design methodology and the unique development of their renovation processes almost half a century later.