The site for Peek & Cloppenburg department store is an outstanding ensemble that embodies the culture of European architecture and the history of the Hanseatic city of Lübeck. Located in the center of the Old Town atop a gently sloping hill and on an edge of Lübeck’s marketplace – a UNESCO World Heritage site – the context necessitates a sensitive planning respecting its neighborhood.
The design concept for the building requires integrating a modern building with a contemporary program into the fabric of the sensitive heritage site, while reviving the urban and historic value. Selection of materials, details and construction process responds to the venerable surroundings. The building zones, program, access, main entrances and roofline are developed in close consultation with the preservation authorities and the city planning office as well as through active public discussions. The building zoning is based on alignments of the historic Marienwerkhaus, the width of the market in relation to the Renaissance arcades of the city hall and on a new frontage on the Kohlmarkt, which follows the street edge development on Holstenstrasse and the Kohlmarkt.
A part of the two plots of site comprises a four-floor commercial complex with two retail units, a café and upscale office spaces. The entrance for the principle tenant, Peek & Cloppenburg, lies on the Kohlmarkt and leads directly into the retail area located in the core of the building. Peripheral shops and a cafe on the ground floor are directly accessed from the market. The cafés offer generous views through glass facades onto the city hall and the market square. The third floor is dedicated to offices, which benefit from a spectacular view of the market, the city hall and the Holsten Gate. The other part of the site which belonged to a former town hall has the ground floor reserved for retail and an entrance lobby for the offices on the upper floors.
The roof is an open shell structure with an approximate eaves height of 13 meters and apex height of 19 meters. It consists of self-supporting, arched, biaxial shells composed of 15 cm thin reinforced concrete slab underneath. The roof covering is matt-finished aluminum. The shells define a series of bays expressed by articulation of the supporting columns within the façade, while terracotta vertical ribs form screens to reduce solar gain and filter views. The interplay of light and shadow on the curved shells echoes traditional roof-scape of Lübeck.
This important contribution to the city’s urban fabric is part of a development plan aimed at rectifying the damage caused by the post-war building program. The success of Peek & Cloppenburg department store demonstrates how an uncompromising modern building can become a synergic addition to a treasured historic town center.