Zollhof 3 Media Centre

(Düsseldorf, Germany) 1989-92

Like so many of the sites that the younger generation of European architects are increasingly being commissioned to build on, this one, in the once thriving but now declining and desolate dockland area of Düsseldorf, is full of abandoned warehouses and industrial buildings. As with other projects of the 1980s by prominent architects, Zaha Hadid's Media Centre was 'chosen to act as an impetus' for the transformation of the whole area into a new enterprise zone', in the words of the brief.

The programme of this redevelopment is the accommodation of advertising companies and communications businesses along with commercial, cultural and leisure activities. Situated between a major traffic artery and a river, the building scheme is defined by the distinctive quality of its relationship to both. On the road side, the building is plain and solid, an assertive wall against the traffic; it houses studios and offices. On its ground level are sited the more public-related functions (galleries and showrooms) and above are those areas which require quietness. The river bank is considered the active part of the site, animated with sport and other leisure pursuits, and this is where the explosive character of the scheme emerges. Here the building is 'open', the walls 'break free', and the use of a number of slabs provides the advantage of 'generating a variety of different spatial conditions inside', in contrast to the traditional uniformity of

(Opposite) Site plan (Right) View from the city (Below right) Conceptual drawing

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