his unusual apartment, under the steep-pitched gables of a period building in the centre of Hamburg, Germany, is the new home of an important German scientist. He has managed to build his very own “oasis of peace and wellbeing”. The building in question is a striking example of the Jugendstil, complete with traditional high-pitched roof. Our intellectual couldn’t resist the charm of this attic space, which looks down upon the hustle-and-bustle of the city.
We are in Hamburg, an elegant and cosmopolitan city with modern appeal, for many also one of the most beautiful spots in Germany. One hundred kilometres from the mouth of the river Elbe in the North Sea, Hamburg is one of the most important European ports. Crossed by a network of canals, it’s also at a turning point between three rivers and two artificial lakes; which gives a unique charm to the city.
Long, narrow and five and a half metres high; this attic is almost a sacred space. Its clean and simple aesthetics don’t evoke the same nostalgic feelings of a traditional attic. Structural beams cladded in painted white plasterboard; this is a detail which takes away its rusticity. The only liberty is a large curved fireplace in oxidised iron, some colourful pieces of furniture and the slatted timber flooring, laid across like boat decking, which adds necessary warmth. All the windows open fully, from the top and from side-to-side, providing an unobstructed view of the entire home.
At the end of the kitchen, a long dining table with three chairs and the L-shaped bench Together (by Walter Knoll), which fits under the window (left-hand side image). On the right-hand side, in between two armchairs, the iconic surrealist coffee table with bird claws designed in 1939 by Meret Oppenheim and manufactured by Cassina.
This apartment extends over two floors. Jammed at one side of the main volume and lowered by half the ceiling height, there’s a landing with entrance, bedroom, bathroom and reading corner. Above this space there's a roof terrace, reached using a short ramp, which separates kitchen from living room. Most of the furniture was designed by Plan W (W like Werkstatt, the German for workshop), the design studio who has overseen the project. Owner Ulrich Weinkath and trusted friend and designer Hans Detlef Lipp wanted to keep all furniture to the bare minimum; this includes both designer pieces and bespoke pieces made by a team of craftsmen, who have been working alongside him for almost thirty years.
This is a modern home with a slight mystical feel, decorated with quality pieces chosen with great care; this answers the need the owner has for hiding from the chaos of city life. He refers to it as is “oasis of wellbeing” and the architect has named the project “Placidità” (lit. peacefulness). These terms sum up the nature of this apartment, designed to give a sense to the peace and serenity of those who enter and want to leave the urban frenzy outside.
Renovation of an attic with roof terrace
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Floors:: 2 + roof terrace
Hans Detlef Lipp
Credits Heinrich Hermes
Courtesy Plan W