ADEPT, a Danish Design Studio has won a competition to design a public administration building in the Wandsbek district of Hamburg, Germany. Covering a total area of almost 34,000 square metres, the project will be one of Germany’s largest entirely wooden construction buildings. Designed to accommodate 800 workplaces, the building creates a framework devised for citizens’ meetings with the public administration.

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Wandsbek: One of Germany’s largest CLT construction buildings_©ADEPT Architects

Holistic sustainability | ADEPT

The building has been envisioned by the firm as well as the client as a ‘sustainable pilot project’ where the approach to sustainability is green, distinct and contemporary; as seen from the exposed CLT construction and green façade elementsshowcasing how sustainable choices are integrated holistically in the overall design.

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Construction details_©ADEPT Architects

“The client’s high ambitions to build the house as a beacon for sustainable construction fit well with our passion for creating sustainable solutions rooted in functionality and users. It is enormously inspiring to build for a public developer who takes on the responsibility of supporting behavioural changes in users and society towards a deeper responsibility towards the earth’s resource.” Anders Lonka, founding partner of ADEPT.

Scale and form

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Massing and Human scale diagram_©ADEPT Architects
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Overall elevation of the building showing varied heights, green features and roof gardens_©ADEPT Architects

Owing to the constraints of a narrow plot, the structure has a characteristic long form. To enable the scale of the building to be more human-oriented and relatable, the massing of the building is done in such a way that the large volume has been split into smaller volumes, which are staggered, alternately vary in heights and elevation design, thus, breaking the monotony of the façade and making the experience of the building, more vibrant and approachable.

Placemaking features | ADEPT

Primary Arrival Plaza as a bio-diverse public space_©ADEPT Architects

Designed as a bio-diverse urban space, the entrance plaza features a fully greened gable, rising above the street level. Green elements denote the changes in the façade giving it a more diverse appearance. The rooftop consists of communal gardens that serve as outdoor spaces for the staff. At ground level, the structure is designed to be open and transparent thus emphasizing the role of the public administration building as a part of the city’s urban fabric.

Thus, the overall design highlights the project’s openness and interaction with the users through visual and spatial forms that create a warm and pleasant atmosphere throughout the building. The building becomes an important urban space that reflects on the bio-diversity in the city and enhances the quality of public life.

Staggered volumes forming in-between interaction spaces_©ADEPT Architects

“In 2020, we opened an office in Hamburg to optimize our consultancy on several ongoing projects, and we hope, of course, that with the realization of the administration building in Wandsbek we will have even more opportunities to work on larger sustainable building projects,” quotes Anders Lonka, founding partner of ADEPT.

The building is expected to open in the year 2026 and is entitled to a DGNB Gold certificate minimum, but aims for a higher level.

Apart from this, ADEPT has worked on several other projects in Germany. It recently completed the design of the largest one-off development in the country, in the new 105th district of Hamburg called Oberbillwerder; revitalization of the cultural building of Marinehaus in Mitte, the central neighbourhood of Berlin; the transformation of Neuperlach in Munich.


Surabhi is a student of architecture and is trying to figure out how she can contribute to the field and society. She finds architectural writing as an escape to a world full of possibilities and hope. Her curiosity, zest to learn, explore and share, is what keeps her going.