It seems only fitting that Haus im Haus (a house in a house), a project designed to provide new business service facilities for the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, should be located inside the Börsenhalle, the city's historic stock exchange building built in 1841 and long-time central meeting place of Hamburg's business world. Designed by Stuttgart-based Behnisch Architekten, the new, five-story, 15,000-square-foot structure accommodates meeting rooms, workspace for start-up business, private dining rooms, a restaurant, a bar, a lounge, and exhibition space (right).

Originally a commission won via an architectural competition in 2003, one of the project's greatest challenges was constructing a new structure within the confines of the historic building while respecting the existing conditions. Exploring themes of “lightness,” the architects devised a structure which “unfolds in layers and planes made of different materials.” Organizing the new structure in response to functional requirements also enabled a variety of interesting spatial configurations (see image gallery).

In keeping with the theme of “lightness” the new structure sits off the existing building's ground plane via a series of steel beams. For the lighting, only one source is used—solid-state lighting. Working with Stuttgart luminaire manufacturer Nimbus Design, the architects designed square LED modules, which are integrated throughout the project under the glass floors of each level of the new structure. The glass floors allow light to transmit from one level to the next (see image gallery). Over 160,000 LEDs used on the project, chosen in part for their lower energy consumption, and lower heat generation, as compared to traditional lamp sources. Although extremely luminous, glare is prevented by way of “400 holes in each module that limit the emission angle to 90 degrees.” All the lighting throughout the project can be dimmed.

Haus im Haus also relies upon daylight as an illumination source. The upper two levels of the Börsenhalle have arched windows allowing for a generous amount of natural light to enter the hall. Aluminum screens in the new structure capture the daylight and reflect the light into the new spaces. The combination of vertical aluminum fins and horizontal plane of the LED modules embedded in the glass floors creates a dynamic spatial interaction within the new structure itself and between the new structure and its existing surroundings (see image gallery). Exploring the “balance of history and modernity” Haus im Haus transforms the architectural design concept into built reality with the aid of new lighting technologies. The result is a refreshing take on the classic “intervention-in-historic-structure” scenario. A|L

jury comments

A rigor and consistency to this intellectually sharp project that explores the “old/new” architectural dialectic. | An intriguing space that you actually want to see in person. | Uses lighting technology to create architectural space.


Project Location: Hamburg, Germany Architect: Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart, Germany Lighting Designers: Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart, Germany and Nimbus Design, Stuttgart, Germany Photographer: Landes Fotografie, Dortmund, Germany Project Size: 15,000 square feet Watts Per Square Foot: 2.2 Project Cost: $4.7 Euro (approximately $6.3 million) Lighting Installation Cost: $150,0000 Euro (approximately $201,448) Manufacturers: Nimbus