Two Dutch firms are helping to give the western German city of Mainz a new look. Designs for two office buildings by MVRDV and morePlatz, both based in Rotterdam, were selected as part of an international competition to transform the downtown and its industrial harbor, Zollhafen, into a versatile urban center.
Together dubbed “Hafenspitze,” the winning entries comprise a block-long, five-story building with a roof garden and an 11-story high-rise structure designed to be a landmark visual at the city’s waterfront, both chosen from among seven submissions and totaling 12,000-square meters of surface area. Hafenspitze will be the first phase of a broader redevelopment. It caught the jury’s attention because the design visualizes the goals of the new master plan while complimenting the older buildings apropos to the city along the west bank of the Rhine River. “MVRDV will create an architectural highlight in the Zollhafen quarter. The profile of the city will be given a contemporary twist along Neustadt’s future promenade by the Rhine, forming an antithesis to the medieval heart of the old town,” said Michael Ebling, the mayor of Mainz, in the press release published by MVRDV.
Both buildings will feature a similar façade and a tapered plinth to accommodate views of the city center and harbor, while differentiating themselves in their materiality and volumes. The high-rise will have windows on all four sides with dark-colored, slate-shingle cladding. The five-story building will be clad in a skin of folded, prefabricated concrete panels to emulate the three-dimensional look of stacked stone.
Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2015.