Prof. Hans Kollhoff
DAAD Scholarship 1975
Hans Kollhoff was born in Thuringia in 1946 and is one of today's most influential German architects. His style speaks a traditional form language that draws on classical motives and uses traditional materials. "My relationship with architecture is not rooted in the aspect of invention, but rather in the aspect of observation," says the professor.
My relationship with architecture is not rooted in the aspect of invention, but rather in the aspect of observation.
Hans Kollhoff's designs include the DaimlerChrysler Building on Berlin's Potsdamer Platz, a high-rise building with a brick façade based on the American model. In the German capital he was also the lead architect for the conversion of the former Reichsbank building into the new Federal Foreign Office building and the conversion of the Berlin Metropol into the Goya Club. He was also responsible for the general planning of the Alexanderplatz's urban development future. Kollhoff and his staff also plan construction projects throughout Germany and Europe.
"I'm fascinated with realising projects that fit into their surroundings naturally," says Kollhoff. He aims to retain urban built heritage. "As an architect, I have to be able to build houses that survive for more than a generation. Otherwise we would be steering towards a future whose memory can no longer be identified by means of buildings," he adds.
Kollhoff studied architecture at Karlsruhe. After graduating in 1975, he won a DAAD Scholarship and went to New York, where he studied at Cornell University, later to return there as a teacher. In 1978 – now back in Germany – he opened his own office in Berlin. Further offices followed in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and in Rotkreuz, Switzerland.
Kollhoff also taught in Switzerland from 1990 to 2012 as professor of architecture and construction at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich).
In 2004, Hans Kollhoff became president of the Berlin International Academy of Architecture (Internationale Bauakademie Berlin), which is endeavouring to reconstruct Karl Friedrich Schinkel's Bauakademie. This red-brick building was demolished on the instructions of the GDR regime in 1962 to make room for the GDR Foreign Ministry, whose building was then in turn demolished in 1995.