New work environment at Campus Rainvilleterrasse

The internationally active architectural firm of Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp), based on the Elbchaussee in Hamburg, employs more than 500 people at eight locations. Its office space in the Hanseatic city has been expanded to include a second location rich in history, perched high above the Elbe river on Rainvilleterrasse in the district of Ottensen.

Troldtekt acoustic panels have unique sound-absorbing properties and ensure superior acoustics in, for example, office buildings
Photo: Olaf Wiechers

The ground floor of the building once housed the first restaurant in the Hanseatic city. It was opened by Adjutant César Lubin Claude de Rainville, who, in 1799, purchased and remodelled what was then a residential building.

In the 1930s, the Prussian State Building Administration had the Altona Nautical College built at Rainvilleterrasse 4, based on a design by architect Hans Meyer. The listed building, constructed in the style of the New Building movement, is an icon on the Altona coastline. It is an oblong, cubic structure divided into four storeys by ribbon windows, with cantilevered balconies on the east side. Shortly after the Second World War, the college was merged with the Hamburg Navigation School, which was founded in 1749. It closed in 2005 due to declining student numbers.

Conversion to ‘Campus Rainvilleterrasse’

The gmp foundation bought the building from the City of Hamburg, carefully renovated and modernised it, allowing its new maritime splendour to shine through, and thus created ‘Campus Rainvilleterrasse’. It houses the Academy for Architectural Culture (aac), the Brand Academy and Design Factory International.

For about five years, the gmp architects rented rooms on the third floor of the old nautical college. To accommodate the growing need for more space, parts of the former catering business on the ground floor have been converted into office space and a staff restaurant.

Design and acoustic challenges

The design of the spaces we inhabit and work in has a great impact on what we do and how we think. The efficient use of space, ergonomic workplaces and employees’ sense of wellbeing all play an essential role. The particular challenge when it came to redesigning the existing space was to avoid at all costs the feeling that employees were working in a restaurant.

The designers focused on a few materials that they deployed strategically. The result of combining listed parquet flooring and the reduction and clarity of the furnishings is a uniquely bright, spacious and multifunctional office space that provides room for creative work, meetings, training and relaxation.

To ensure employee satisfaction, the acoustics in the 160 square metre room play an essential role. Designers ultimately found a simple yet creatively appealing and sophisticated solution for the high ceiling – Troldtekt line acoustic panels. The product works perfectly with the simplicity of the design and the clarity of the furnishings.

Thanks to the acoustic effects and visual quality, the former hall with its distinct ambience and spatial quality has become a much loved workplace.

Troldtekt line acoustic panels have grooves which run lengthwise, ensuring an elegant and uniform ceiling surface. The solution is part of Troldtekt’s design series, which was awarded both the ICONIC Award 2019 and the German Design Award 2020, as well as advancing to the finals of the Danish Design Award 2020 and the DETAIL Product Award 2020.