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Renner Hainke Wirth Zirn Architekten and KAWAHARA KRAUSE ARCHITECTS


„Lounge Bridge“

The firm’s partners, Karin Renner, Rolf Hainke, Stefan Wirth and Melanie Zirn devised a challenge that took us to Hamburg. The task they came up with was to design a public lounge on the water in Hamburg.

Architects Kawahara Tatsuya and Ellen Kristina Krause offer an extensive design that encompasses a host of relaxation modes in an aquatic setting:

“For this fictitious task, we rolled our carpet right across the River Alster, so as to enable the public to spend time on and at one of the loveliest locations the city has to offer. The design allows for exploration of an otherwise almost inaccessible vast urban space, reveals new perspectives on Hamburg’s skyline, and enables visitors to experience the vastness of the very heart of Hamburg.

Carpeted "lounge pontoons" scattered on both banks of the Alster can be combined to form islands in various constellations. They temporarily abut each other and thus enable users to shuttle back and forth between the east and west banks of the Alster – which in turn creates a shortcut across the river that would otherwise not be possible. The staggered edges of the pontoons create abundant seating right on the water.”

We find it incredibly exciting to see how Kawahra Krause solved this problem and how their design creates a harmonious interplay between landscape, aesthetic, and functional elements – while at the same time integrating textiles.

Renner Hainke Wirth Zirn Architekten (from left to right: Rolf Hainke, Melanie Zirn, Karin Renner, Stefan Wirth)
KAWAHARA KRAUSE ARCHITECTS (from left to right: Ellen Kristina Krause, Kawahara Tatsuya)


... is a German-Japanese architectural firm that was founded in 2009 by Kawahara Tatsuya and Ellen Kristina Krause. The two women first met while working at Shigeru Ban in Tokyo, where they worked together after graduating, respectively, from the University of Kyoto and ETH Zürich. International experiences motivate these young architects to create designs that are notable for their openness and an absence of received ideas – based as they are on their habit of always questioning such ideas. Perpetuating and interpreting the history inherent in each project translates into a conceptual and project-oriented architecture.


Renner Hainke Wirth Zirn Architekten

Each individual is constantly confronted with architecture – an endeavor that’s about far more than merely creating practical value.  For architecture is in fact built sensuality – or sometimes not. The art lies in self-imposed restriction of the resources at hand, from an esthetic and economic standpoint.



“We hope that you and your team will have the perseverance needed for your strong, experimental and subtle conceptual approaches; because Hamburg can definitely benefit from more art and experimentation in the field of architecture. And don’t let yourselves be disheartened by typical Hamburg pragmatism – to which end, make sure enough realism is on offer to bring your projects to fruition. We also hope that you’ll have courageous clients who are genuinely excited about architecture and who will bring you greater attention and recognition (and more clients!) by means of actual projects.”  

In their 2006 book “Forever Young,” these established architects provided this formula for successful architecture:  “Architecture needs to have a structure and take a stand, because it is and remains publicly tangible.” We feel that, by virtue of its Lounge Bridge design, Kawahara Krause is fully in line with this precept.