MVRDV's Design for 'KoolKiel' Tower Brings Distinctive Whimsy to an Adaptable Scheme

MVRDV have released details of their proposed mixed-use complex, designed to redevelop a post-industrial site in Kiel, Germany. The 65,000-square-meter proposal will adopt a flexible design system as opposed to a fixed, unchangeable plan, thus allowing the scheme to adapt to future demands as the design development progresses.

Labeled the “KoolKiel,” MVRDV’s scheme will occupy an existing large, single-story building previously used to store chains of ships, and for the printing of Germany’s famous Werner comics in the 1980s. The site’s current use as a hub for media and creative industries, and its resulting charismatic identity, has strongly influenced the MVRDV scheme, with the retention of the existing structure and lively, playful exterior spaces.

MVRDV's Design for 'KoolKiel' Tower Brings Distinctive Whimsy to an Adaptable Scheme - More Images+ 15


The existing structure, now named the "W8 Medienzentrum," will be converted into commercial units topped with apartments, where it will sit alongside a new building. This cubic addition, sitting atop a zig-zagging plinth of offices and shops, will contain several blocks of housing, and a tower of office spaces. At one end of the site, a 250-room hotel tower will connect to the plinth through a public event space used to host community-organized events and exhibitions.



The scheme places a heavy emphasis on “lively exterior spaces” with a courtyard between the buildings filled with a variety of street furniture, and a rooftop parking winding around the three cubic housing blocks. The scheme’s façade panels, made from fiber-reinforced concrete, have been designed to display a variety of icons inspired by local creative output, activated by interior lighting.

By considering the design as a flexible system, rather than a fixed concept, the scheme allows many opportunities for community input. The cubic arrangement of the scheme means its final construction may fall anywhere along a range of options, "from a conservative series of boxes to a wacky yet charismatic collection of cantilevers and iconography.” The final size and number of cantilevers on the hotel tower are still open for change, as is the extent of pictographic panels, and size, number, and layout of apartments in the existing building.

Interior. Image © MVRDV

In a location with such a dynamic and creative existing community, it’s obvious that the community should have a say in this development. 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?’
-Jacob van Rijs, Principal and Cofounder, MVRDV

Interior. Image © MVRDV

The scheme is only one of MVRDV’s explorations into responsive. Earlier this month, the Rotterdam-based firm released images of their dual towers in Taipei, adorned with interactive media facades. Last year, the firm also unveiled their winning design for a SeaSaw in the Dutch coastal city of Den Helder, which rocks back and forth in response to the changing tide.

Masterplan. Image © MVRDV

News via: MVRDV

Project Name: KoolKiel
Location: Kiel, Germany
Year: 2018+
Client: Kap Horn GmbH
Client Spokesperson: Ralph Müller-Beck, Staatssekretär a.D. / State Secretary (ret.)
Size & Program: ca. 65,000 sqm (Hotel, Office, Event, Restaurants, Shops, Housing, Collaborative Offices)
Architect: MVRDV
Principal-in-charge: Jacob van Rijs
Design Team: Philipp Kramer, Bartlomiej Markowski, Ruggero Buffo, Bartosz Karasinski, Christine Sohar, Daniel Mayer, and Eleonora Lattanzi
Visualization: Antonio Luca Coco, Luca Piattelli, Masoud Khodadadi
Images: © MVRDV
Structure: Werner Sobek
Fire: Wenzel + Wenzel
Cost calculation: Wenzel + Wenzel

Winy Maas at Living Environment: "There Are Four Important Points for the Development of Contemporary Housing"

With a presentation by Dutch architect Winy Maas ( MVRDV), the third edition of "Living Environment," organized by Russian Ministry of Construction Industry, Housing and Utilities Sector, DOM.RF and Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, was inaugurated today in the city of Kaliningrad, Russia.

Image gallery

See allShow less
About this author
Cite: Niall Patrick Walsh. "MVRDV's Design for 'KoolKiel' Tower Brings Distinctive Whimsy to an Adaptable Scheme" 25 Jan 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884


MVRDV 新作'KoolKiel',渐进灵活地重建都市社区

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.