Apartment in Cologne Gerling Quarter

Living in the historic office ambience

When the Gerling high-rise was built between 1950 and 1953 in the center of Cologne, it was quickly regarded as a sensation. No building was higher. Only the Cologne Cathedral in sight could rival it. The whole ensemble, which the Gerling Group had built over decades as the headquarters of the insurance company, was created in a classicist style – with a square crowned by the 17-story high building. The filigree, 56-meter-high steel skeleton structure tapers slightly towards the top, has a louvered facade and is clad on the outside in shell limestone. Offices and apartments were built in this historic ambience starting in 2007. Since the facades and, in part, the interiors are listed buildings, the buildings were carefully – and where possible – gutted and the interior spaces largely redesigned. When brandherm + krumrey was commissioned to furnish a condominium in the Gerling high-rise, the interior designers and their team first began to redefine the spaces. The challenge here: on the one hand, it had to comply with the outer facade, which was structured quite strictly by its grid, axes and a circumferential window front. On the other hand, a homely comfort should be created in the newly designed rooms. Since balconies were not planned in the high-rise building, which was once planned as an office complex, two interior loggias now provide airy open space. Second challenge for the interior designers: the 180-square-meter condominium was to be designed to become a stage for collected art. And the third challenge: The furnishings were to take up the formal and material language of the 1950s and translate it into the modern era. brandherm + krumrey used a lot of natural stone and wood as well as muted colors. The result: an elegance that reflects the aesthetics of the historic building on the one hand, and the spirit of the residents. Text: Brigitte Jurczyk


Planning Team
Susanne Brandherm, Martin Dierolf

Cologne, Gerling Quarter


Joachim Grothus