Hohentorsplatz’ is located on the periphery of Bremen’s historic Neustadt ramparts. A great variety of urban development projects aim at enlivening this part of the city centre. One being to create more attractive subsidised and privately let housing. This was the context of the competition launched by the Bremen housing company GEWOBA for the development of a former car park. The vision was to develop a multi-storey residential building to explore “the possibility of accentuating the urban space in a special way”. The award-winning design by Hild und K Architekten implemented the underlying specifications in an unusual form – an eight-storey staggered structure. The hexagonal floor area of the residential building makes use of the wedge-shaped building plot to create an urban accent. The residential tower is prominently located at the tip of the site like a polygonal ‘prow’, creating a distinguishing entrance to the quarter when viewed from the nearby ‘Neustadtwallanlagen’. It replaces the namesake ‘Hohe Tor’, which was demolished in the 19th century. This striking landmark, which is mainly used for residential purposes, relates in a wider urban context to the buildings of the Bremen University of Applied Sciences – and offers accommodation for students in particular. Recesses after the fourth and sixth storeys reference the surrounding buildings and maintain the delicate balance between the building’s solitary urban position and its environment.
Open spaces at the edge of the hexagonal building form squares and further establish relationship with the neighbouring surroundings and the attractive park. The view of the greenery is a particular feature of the commercial space planned for the ground floor of the building. It is to host a cafe or restaurant – the ideal usage to further enliven this urban district. The residential floors are grouped around a staircase core. It is generously proportioned and was designed to a high standard; unusual for a building occupied to 80 per cent by subsidised housing. Upgrading these common areas was inspired by Alvaro Alto’s high-rise residential building in Bremen’s Vahr district and is fundamental to the approach of Andreas Hild, Dionys Ottl and Matthias Haber which aims at promoting community and social intermingling. The building typology arranges privately financed and subsidised flats around a common staircase. In accordance with the idea of equality, both types are of the same standard in terms of spatial organisation and furnishings. The unusual floor plan and the internal structure prevent individual living spaces being solely oriented towards the north, without exception. The architecture thus allows the differences between subsidised and privately financed flats to fade into the background.
The façade is clad with glazed bricks of different sizes, colours and laying directions. Together with the staggered form of the building, they create a lively interplay of light and shadow. In a way, their green hue can also be read programmatically: Solar cells are arranged on the green roof of the building and, together with a combined heat and power unit, ensure a sustainable energy supply. In addition, ecologically and economically positive effects were achieved by genuine architectural means: The compactness of the building type results in a noticeable reduction in material required for construction and energy needed to operate the building.