Pier One, Port of Düsseldorf
Building bridges in the port of Düsseldorf
Pier One is a spectacular new building in Düsseldorf’s harbour. The building sits above the water, supported on 180 piles. Another special feature that will change the port forever: radiating from Pier One are four new slender bridges, which connect Speditionsstrasse, Kesselstrasse, and Weizenmühlenstrasse. This creates both a new transit route and a new public space on the water – emblematic for the harbour’s transformation in recent decades and a catalyst of further development. The concept and design are by ingenhoven architects. Construction is planned to begin in 2021.
In terms of urban planning, Pier One is a logical next step in the development of the Düsseldorf Harbour – an area that is central to the urban development of the metropolis on the Rhine. In 1886, the city’s first port facility, one of the most modern of its time, was opened and accelerated Düsseldorf’s rise as an important hub of trade and industry. In 1906, Georg Plange, owner of the largest milling company in Europe at that time, erected a striking flour mill building, visible from afar, to produce the Diamant flour brand. The economic boom during post-war reconstruction in the 1950s was followed by a comprehensive restructuring of the port, triggered by the advent of container shipping as well as the coal and steel crisis. From the mid-1970s onwards, offices and businesses increasingly moved in among the industrial enterprises, and from 1990 onwards development of the MedienHafen (Media Harbour) has transformed the area into the city’s go-to district.
But new uses of the harbour beyond trade and industry also require adequate long-term infrastructure. The historic quays reach far into the harbour, meaning that visitors must cross long distances to reach the tip of the headland. A new, smart transport route can only be established with the help of bridges. The idea of directly connecting the headlands in Düsseldorf’s port goes back to the “Living Bridges” exhibition. Curated by the Centre Pompidou Paris and the Royal Academy London and hosted at the NRW-Forum in Düsseldorf in 2000, the show presented the urban development vision of ingenhoven architects for the commercial port: a network of floating bridges and footbridges. With Pier One, this idea is now becoming a reality. A new building and, together with the bridges, a new infrastructure will be created. Like Kö-Bogen II in the Düsseldorf city centre, this project is an expression of a paradigm shift – both the symbol of a new era and a catalyst for the port’s further transformation.
Places for People
Built on a pile foundation, Pier One responds to the dynamics of the Kesselstrasse peninsula. The architecture is based on the lightness of typical pier buildings. Two, five-storey building sections with an additional staggered storey and projecting roof terraces rise above a parking level and are connected by a public atrium. Generous 21,500 square metres of gross floor space offer room for offices, showrooms, or a hotel. The ground floor attracts the public with an assortment of cafés, restaurants, and unexpected perspectives. Together with the two spacious public squares – with a view of the city to the north, the Kesselpark to the south, and the four bridges – a new public space on the water is being created: a new location for Düsseldorf.