Ahrens Grabenhorst Architekten BDA specialises in very challenging construction projects. This applies to both new and old builds. The Hanover-based architectural firm is on hand particularly when buildings require sensitive transformations to make them fit for new purposes. Examples include the redevelopment and extension of Celle Art Museum, the integration of a choir centre into an existing church, a memorial for an Israeli horticultural school, or the conversion of a church into a Jewish community centre with a synagogue. It’s no surprise that Roger Ahrens and Gesche Grabenhorst have won plenty of accolades which included the State of Lower Saxony’s Prize for Architecture in 2010 to name just one.
And it’s equally no surprise that for their own new premises they wanted somewhere that stimulated these capabilities. In the past a bank occupied the building in the centre of Hanover opposite the Opera House. In the 1980s an extension in the style typical of the time with an atrium in the middle was added to the historical façade on the ground floor. So the new concept involved creating an open-plan workspace around this atrium which offered different and versatile settings where people could communicate with one another in all sorts of ways. The space features PU flooring, pillars, customised desks, shelves and highboards all in white with contrasting black ON office chairs, producing a light and airy atmosphere. Lounge and conference areas with Graph chairs and Concentra tables can be partitioned with translucent curtains that also muffle noise. A cafeteria with Aline tables makes the space complete. A 20-metre-long mural with all the 1,624 colours in the RAL D2 design system is very eye-catching. It’s both a tool to work with and a piece of art at the same time. Further highlights include a Nain Persian rug in the lounge and a Roy Lichtenstein graphic on the cafeteria wall. The result is an impressive showcase of the work of Ahrens Grabenhorst.