An International Team of Star Architects
Potsdamer Platz is the result of extensive competitions, designs and planning. Nineteen of the buildings in the area were conceived and designed by an international team of architects headed by Renzo Piano. Among Piano’s best-known works are the Centre Pompidou in Paris and The New York Times Building. At Potsdamer Platz his aim was to create a European-like city quarter. The influence of his style is readily apparent, particularly in the terracotta façades of the buildings. Renzo Piano and Christoph Kohlbecker persuaded other famous architects to join forces with them. The success of the Potsdamer Platz project is, therefore, also thanks to the contributions of:
Japanese architect Arata Isozaki (born 1931) studied at the University of Tokyo under Kenzō Tange. In 1963, he established his own architectural firm by the name of Arata Isozaki & Associates, which became the basis for his creative work. Designing buildings throughout the world, Isozaki developed a style that unites Japanese tradition with postmodern and mannerist influence from the Western world. In addition to his work as a freelance architect, he lectures at renowned universities and has authored numerous publications.
His best-known works include the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the multifunctional arena Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona and the Team Disney Building in Florida. For Potsdamer Platz, Arata Isozaki designed the Berliner Volksbank.
Christoph Kohlbecker was born in Gaggenau in 1935 and studied architecture at the University of Karlsruhe under Egon Eiermann. Since 1959, he has worked as a freelance architect and is owner of the architectural firm Kohlbecker | Architekten & Ingenieure. He became known for his work on industrial facilities and public buildings, such as school complexes, administrative buildings, multipurpose halls, housing developments, etc. In 1984, Kohlbecker was appointed lecturer for “Factory Planning” at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and taught there from 1996 to 2005 as an honorary professor.
His best-known works include numerous complexes and factories for Daimler AG, the Heidelberger Druckmaschinen works in Amstetten and the logistics centre of Tchibo GmbH in Zarrentin. Together with Renzo Piano, Kohlbecker planned the development of Potsdamer Platz quarter.
Hans Kollhoff was born in Thüringen in 1946 and studied architecture at the University of Karlsruhe under Egon Eiermann as well as at the University of Vienna. After graduating in 1975, he was awarded a fellowship to Cornell University in New York, where he assisted Oswald Mathias Ungers until 1978. He then founded his own architectural firm “Kollhoff Architekten”, which he has been running with Helga Timmermann since 1984.
Kollhoff is best known for his office, business and residential buildings. Together with Helga Timmermann, he has contributed to the Berlin skyline with projects such as the urban planning design for Alexanderplatz and the Leibniz Colonnades at Walter Benjamin Platz as well as the Kollhoff Tower and the Delbrück Haus at Potsdamer Platz. The Newton Bar at Gendarmenmarkt and the Europäische Haus at Pariser Platz were also designed by Kollhoff architects.
Some of Kollhoff’s most famous buildings outside Berlin, include Main Plaza in Frankfurt am Main and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations in the Netherlands.
Hans Kollhoff is immortalised at Potsdamer Platz with the Kollhoff Tower.
Ulrike Lauber & Wolfram Wöhr
Ulrike Lauber was born in Beidenkopf in 1955 and studied architecture at the TU Berlin. After graduating, she worked for Richard Meier in New York from 1986 to 1990 and then founded her own architectural firm with Wolfram Wöhr, “lauber + wöhr architekten” in 1990. Since 2007, she has been running the firm “lauber + zottmann architekten” with Peter Zottmann.
Wolfram Wöhr was born in Weißenstein in 1956 and studied architecture at the University of Stuttgart. After working in the New York architectural firm “Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman Architects” and for Richard Meier in New York, he opened his own firm with Ulrike Lauber in 1990, which he has continued to run under the name “Wöhr Heugenhauser Architekten” along with Gerold Heugenhauser since 2000.
For Potsdamer Platz, Ulrike Lauber and Wolfram Wöhr designed the residential building B9 (Linkstrass/Eichhornstrasse) as well as the buildings A2/A3 in Potsdamer Strasse, which accommodate a multiplex cinema with boarding house, offices and a residential building, despite the compact space.
Renzo Piano was born in Genoa in 1937 and studied architecture at the University of Florence as well as at the Polytechnic University of Milan, where he also worked as a lecturer. In cooperation with architect Richard Rogers, he designed the famous Centre Pompidou in Paris in 1970. Piano later opened another firm in 1977 with engineer Peter Rice. Since the early 1980s, it has functioned under a workshop concept whereby experts from various fields take a holistic approach towards realising architectural projects. Since the death of Peter Rice, Piano has headed the company, which is now known by the name “Renzo Piano Building Workshop” with offices in Genoa, Paris and New York. His most famous works include the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Fondation Beyeler in Switzerland.
Renzo Piano planned and directed the Potsdamer Platz project in cooperation with Christoph Kohlbecker.
British architect Richard Rogers was born in Florence in 1931 and studied architecture at the Architectural Association School in London. He then won a scholarship to the Yale School of Art and Architecture. After his studies, he first worked for the firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in New York, then in 1963, opened his own office in England. In 1970, together with architect Renzo Piano, he designed the famous Centre Pompidou in Paris. Rogers established a planning firm, now known by the name of “Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners” in 1977, which has branches in London, Sydney and Shanghai.
Roger’s work includes the Lloyd’s Building in London, the European Court of Human Rights in Strassburg and the multifunctional arena The O2 in London. He also planned the Three World Trade Center at Ground Zero in New York, which is scheduled to be finished in 2018.
For Potsdamer Platz, Richard Rogers designed a three-building complex known as the Roger Twins.