Haus im Haus

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg’s Chamber of Commerce required a more intensive use of their existing neo-classical building on Adolphsplatz. The brief for the 2003 design competition anticipated the introduction of several additional floor levels within the existing Börsenhalle and a structure which respects the fabric of the historic building.

The design proposal adds a total of five new levels which occupy a relatively small proportion of the hall in order to preserve its generous spatial character.

A business start-up center, consultation, exhibition, club and meeting room facilities for members, guests and visitors are arranged in a sculptural manner. The uppermost level affords access to generous roof terraces and beautiful views out over the roofs of Hamburg through a band of arched clerestory windows.

The new structure is composed of layers and planes, where lightness, immateriality and reflection contrast the solid, elaborate walls of the existing building. A variety of fascinating spatial solutions emerge within both the new structure and in relation to the existing building.

The light, free-floating character of the new extension is complemented and accentuated by an LED lighting system that was jointly developed by the architects and Nimbus Design. Although not part of the original architectural competition entry, the lighting system was later seen to offer extraordinary potential for special lighting effects.

The “House in a House” is the first structure in the world that is completely lit by LED lamps.



Hamburg, Germany


Handelskammer Hamburg


Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart Design: Behnisch & Partner


Adolphsplatz 1
20457 Hamburg






1.000 qm / 10,760 sq.ft.


Behnisch & Partner, 2003, 1st prize

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