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Type: Commercial, Retail, Transportation

Size: 568,250 sq ft / 52,790 sq m

Height: 5 floors

Status: Completed 2002

Previously Named: Galeria Kaufhof

Recognition: AIA Chicago Chapter Award

Rarely has architecture inspired hope like it did following the reunification of Germany in the 1990s. In Chemnitz, decades of Soviet occupation left behind a vast urban wasteland, creating a blank slate for architects to reimagine a modern city center.

Recognizing the important need, city leaders tasked Jahn with designing a first for our studio: a department store located at the edge of the historic city square. The design we delivered is all at once eye-catching and aspirational. A single-shell facade of high-performance insulating glass wraps around the exterior of the five-story structure as if the entire building is a display window. Contributing an internal luminosity, especially at night, the building becomes a Stadtpavillon — an instant landmark in a city reborn, opening up its arms to the world around it.

In its systems and parts, the building strives for maximum technical integration. The insulated glass panels run like a taut membrane in front of the slab edges. Meanwhile, stretched metal screens enclose the parking garage and define the edge of the cantilevered structure at the roof, changing between transparency and an opaque structure. Air is supplied from below and exhausted to the top through ducts around the columns, keeping their sizes constant at all levels, reducing obstructions in the sales spaces to a minimum and offering higher room heights.

The Galeria Kaufhof was made possible by enlightened cooperation with the City of Chemnitz and the Kaufhof/Metro Organization.

The entrance to the underground parking is through a vaulted and sloped glass enclosure as an added intervention to the urban assembly of Galeria Kaufhof.

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