Architects Architecture Art Town Houses

Brahms Kontor Hamburg + Brick Expressionism

Copper Bottom

Hamburg is a city of brick buildings. Reddish, purplish, brownish. Bäckerbreitergang in Neustadt is one of the earliest examples. This red brick half timbered terrace of houses along a narrow cobblestone street is a survival from 1780 (nos. 49 and 50) and the early 19th century (nos. 51 to 58). But really brick came into its own in the opening decades of the 20th century when Expressionism swept across the city. The Brahms Kontor office building on Johannes Brahms Platz opposite Gorch Fock Wall is a brick’s throw from Bäckerbreitergang. The top two storeys of this 11 storey great purple brick pile are stepped back – Hamburgers love a good ziggurat (think Steigenberger Hotel). Architects Werner Lundt and Georg Kallmorgen’s original 1904 building was enlarged by Ferdinand Sckopp and Willhelm Vortmann in the 1920s and 1930s. Brahms Kontor is a commercial triumph of classical modernity. Six copper male nudes protruding from the side elevation considerably liven up the architecture. The Broscheks Building, now the Marriott Renaissance Hotel, is another fine example of Expressionism. In a similar purple brick to Brahms Kontor, only gilt tipped in places, it was designed by Fritz Höger in 1925.