Kranhauser - Kolner Rheinauhafen - Cologne, Germany

BRT Architekten - Jens Bothe, Kai Richter and Hadi Teherani
Date Built
Centre: 2008,  South: 2009,  North: 2010

The Kranhauser, or Crane Houses, are three unique buildings on the side of the River Rhine in the Rheinauhafen redevelopment area of Cologne.  Crane Houses South and Centre are office buildings whilst North is a residential building.  Although the predicted completion dates suggest that the last of the buildings would be finished in 2011, it is clear from the images on this page, taken in June of 2011, that work was still in progress.

The buildings get their name from the fact that they resemble the cranes that once loaded and unloaded Rhine barges on this waterfront, but they are also regarded as a new interpretation of a design by the architect El Lissitzkys in the 1920s that he called  "Wolkenbuegel" or "Cloud Hanger".  Lissitzkys was contemplating a building made up of a vertical stair shaft with a horizontal residential block sitting on top, what was regarded as a "horizontal skyscraper."  Another variation on this theme can be found in Zurich where the
Wolkenbügel (Cloud Hanger) housing estate sits on the western side of Zürich.  It was designed by the local architectural firm of Andreas Herczog and Ernst Hubeli and features a steel and glass structure which seems to float over the buildings below and is only connected to them by a beam structure.

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