Global Inspiration: Bremer Landesbank, Bremen – EH Smith

Global Inspiration: Bremer Landesbank, Bremen

Name: Global Inspiration: Bremer Landesbank, Bremen

Architect: Caruso St John

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Description

The new headquarters for the Bremer Landesbank stands opposite the cathedral and adjacent to the mediaeval town hall on Bremen’s historic Domshof, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The building is characterised by its expressive brick facades, monumental doorways, a retained nineteenth century façade and a courtyard at the centre of its plan.

Dark, hard bricks in the form of piers, buttresses and ornamental friezes dress the building in a thick masonry skin. The internal division of the offices, and a closely spaced structural grid within the façade, lend the elevation a vertical grain. The vertical piers are interwoven with horizontal bay-fronted spandrels of brickwork that mark out the floors. The piers and horizontal bands become finer and flatter as the façade rises. A twisting geometry of individual bricks rising up the piers introduces further ornamental detail. The whole assembly holds a complex pattern of shadows as if the masonry elements are woven together. This vertical gothic character, at the same time monolithic and delicate, is a prominent characteristic of many fine buildings from northern Germany. Here, the unpretentious but precise coat of brick separates the new building from the facades around it.

The extensive use of special shaped bricks was instrumental in achieving the Architects’ vision and was accomodated by Deppe, EH Smith’s exclusive manufacturing partner in Germany.