The Hanomag 'U-Boat Hall' was completed near the end of WW II, although it was never actually used to build submarines. Now the massive production facility has found a new life as a warehouse and retail showroom for RS + Yellow. The soaring ceilings, expansive skylights and solid brick envelope make for an impressive store and a great adaptive reuse project. Designed by BOLLES+WILSON, the U-Boat Hall retail outlet creates an interesting juxtaposition between new, modern furniture and the rusty remains of war-time construction.
The Hanomag U-Boat Hall was completed in 1944 at the tail end of WW II, and it was never used for armament production. (Its location in Hannover away from the coast is curious and does not seem logical for a submarine factory.) Rather than let the empty production facility waste away, an enterprising furniture company took it over to turn it into a retail outlet. They tasked BOLLES+WILSON (who also designed their HQ and their flagship store in Münster) with turning the rusty and lofty building into a suitable site to sell furniture.
The hall is actually split into two stores – one side is a mega Bicycle Emporium where racing bikes can be tested in the shop, and the other is the furniture outlet and warehouse. The store’s new wooden floors display furnishings from RS-Moebel and Yellow that pop brightly against the industrial interior.
The building’s rusty steel columns, elevated crane track and skylight box are reminders of the site’s original purpose. Daylight streams down through the skylights to keep the space bright and reduce the need for artificial lighting.
Images ©Olaf Mahlstedt