Kaufhof is one of the two main department store groups in Germany, headquartered in Cologne and with 114 stores in the country. Authored by the architect Wilhelm Kreis, their historic Cologne main store was constructed from 1912–1914.

Project Details +

Project Details

LOCATION: Cologne, Germany
CLIENT: Galeria Kaufhof
DATE: 2014
STATUS: Competition
SIZE: 50,000m² (46,000m² retail, 4,000m² restaurants)

Credits +


ACME: Sarah Blahut, Monica Capitanio, Erik de Haan, Vera Landshuter, Friedrich Ludewig, Dirk Mueller, Jan Saggau

Throughout the years, and especially after destruction during the Second World War, the original building has undergone substantial changes. Some of the key features of the original building have been lost. The atria have been closed and the once distinct roof has been replaced with a flat parking deck. Extensions to the building have been added on the south side, which have doubled the total area of the store, creating super-deep floor plates with no daylight. Kaufhof Cologne today lacks architectural quality and atmosphere, and is increasingly failing to satisfy the demands of a modern department store.

The proposals seek to create a flagship, 6 level department store with daylit floors, light flooded atria and a roofscape with amazing views towards Cologne Dome. Crossed arched vault ceilings give a new identity to the new atrium and bring daylight into it. These ceilings also extend into restaurants either side at high level.

The main structure for the concrete souq bridges consists of a single span concrete arch. The central deck remains lower than the main arches at mid-span to ensure minimum vertical articulation and gradients for ease of use. The concrete arch structure works in conjunction with a system of intersecting concrete walls, which stabilize and stiffen the extremely shallow arch.

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