Literally in between lanes lies the so called “Mercedes Haus”. Built in the 1920s it used to house car workshops from the pioneering car manufacturer and later became one of the more paradoxical buildings of the city: Whilst basically being the most prominent – or at least: the first - address of the city, it is also an unloved left over of s building, unusually positioned between motorway-lanes and barely noticed. A bit too small, a bit too shy, a bit too grey.
On the upside, rents are affordable and floor plans extremely versatile. Consequently the eight story building is inhabited by young start ups, emerging artists and creative pioneers. At an exceptionally strange place it perfectly represents the potential of Hamburg’s east side with its industrial structures and low rents. On the border of the eastern frontier, the “Mercedes Haus” is already a creative melting-pot.
Its solid foundation, both programmatically and structurally, is predestined to become the new landmark for the emerging neighbourhoods in the east. Using timber to add more space in the form of versatile lofts to live and work in, it not only adds to the existing creative synergy within the house, but also presents these pioneering thoughts to the thousands passing by every day.
Using timber for construction seems a perfect choice for this specific object. It maximizes the ability to add space to a building, which has nowhere to expand despite paradoxically not being situated in a dense area. The old structure, laid out for heavy machinery, can easily sustain 10 stories or more, by doubling the space that is currently available. At the same time, by keeping the structural concept simple, the versatility of the old is transferred to the new. Every element is laid out to serve multiple purposes without prescribing specific usage. Preparing it for whatever change comes next.