Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has unveiled plans to redevelop a post-industrial city block in Kiel, Germany, into an eye-catching, mixed-use complex that matches the creative spirit of the site’s current tenants. Dubbed “KoolKiel,” the 65,000-square-meter redevelopment project will include the adaptive reuse of the existing single-story W8 Medienzentrum building as well as the addition of a new zig-zagging plinth, office tower and hotel tower. The buildings will also be equipped with rooftop solar panels, rainwater catchment systems, green roofs and other energy-efficient features.

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tall tower with cantilevered units

Located near the southernmost tip of the Kiel Fjord, the project site is currently home to W8 Medienzentrum, a large, single-story building that was originally used for storing chains for ships and has been converted into an office space housing mostly companies in media and the creative industries. Inspired by the influence of these tenants on the area’s “unique and charismatic” identity, MVRDV has drawn inspiration from the existing community of companies for the KoolKiel design. The proposal will remake W8 Medienzentrum’s existing structure into a mix of commercial units with apartments above, while the new buildings will offer additional office space, a 250-room hotel, more residences, retail and a public event space. Dynamic exterior spaces — from a public courtyard with street furniture to a rooftop park — will connect the various buildings.

cantilevering towers at dusk

Creative community input will be key to the project. For instance, the facade, made from fiber reinforced concrete panels, will display icons inspired by creative local businesses and individuals. The flexible design system also gives the community the choice to change many of the interior and exterior elements of the buildings, from the number of cantilevered units on the hotel tower to the size and layout of apartments stacked above the existing W8 building.

Related: MVRDV proposes a glowing “Times Square Taiwan” with interactive media facades

cantilevered towers against cloudy gray skies

“In a location with such a dynamic and creative existing community, it’s obvious that the community should have a say in this development,” said Jacob van Rijs, principal and cofounder of MVRDV. “KoolKiel is not only inspired by them, but it also allows them to tailor the proposal to their wishes — we’re presenting them with not just a design, but also a question: ‘how “Kool” do you want it?’”


Images via MVRDV