Caruso St John Architects
Location: Bremen, DE
Client: Bremer Landesbank
Project Status: Built
The site for the head office of the Bremer Landesbank is a public platform from which the institution should project itself. What should a bank look like today? Amongst the structures gathered together at Bremen’s historic temple district, from the Romanesque spire of the Dom at its centre, to the small houses along the edge of the flower market, the bank should stand like a city elder, taking its place amongst the other important figures. With its close proximity to the mediaeval Town Hall and to the Dom, the bank should not attract too much attention, it should be reserved, but dressed in clothes of the highest quality. Above all it should have an open and honest face.
The facades proposed refer to a northern European tradition of expressive brick construction, where dark hard clinker bricks in the form of piers, buttresses and ornamental friezes dress the building in a thick masonry skin. The elevations have a vertical gothic character, at the same time monolithic and delicate, referring to the Wesserenaisance of the Bremen Rathaus and the Stadtwaage, and generally to a Hanseatic tradition of quality and reserve. Within the vertical grain of the external wall, expressive brick doorways mark the entrances to the head office and to the bank branch.
The face of the bank is not only its facades, but also its public interiors and the nature of its internal organisation. The new building has a large courtyard at its centre that gives a simple and generous image to its organisation. This new central space is open to the sky and has its floor at pavement level. The courtyard is semi-public and acts as the forecourt of the head office entrance. The internal arrangement of the building is very flexible, allowing for the maximum number of individual offices on each floor with frontage to the external facades or to the courtyard, each with an opening window. The large staff restaurant and the private client reception rooms of the bank are located on the top floor, where the 500 staff as well as the senior staff and special clients can enjoy the same extraordinary views over the roof of the city.