unstudio to develop ‘new heart’ in düsseldorf


On August 30th 2023, die developer, the state capital Düsseldorf (LHD), and the jury selected UNStudio’s design proposal as the winner for the mixed-use Düsseldorf competition. The practice is set to give shape to the New Heart mixed-use development on the Kennedydamm in the northern city center. This space, set to undergo major transformations in the coming years, will welcome two sustainable, mixed-use towers rising 120 meters from the skyline and encircling a green, low-rise community pavilion. 


Featuring a broad mix of uses on the 10,000 square meters site, the development has been designed to meet the future needs of an urban and sustainable city to foster a more cultural future, enhance accessibility, and promote individuality and diversity. The design concept therefore aims to set an important impulse, not only in this key urban quarter, but also for the entire district. Ben van Berkel, Founder and Principal Architect at UNStudio, notes: ‘Our design… supports a highly diverse mix of functions that will enliven the site around the clock and add a cultural edge to this area of the city.’

UNStudio appointed to design sustainable and inclusive mixed-use development in düsseldorf
all images by Engram



sustainability features utilizing smart design


UNStudio’s proposal has been designed to be highly ecological and future-proof, demonstrating high and comprehensive sustainability standards and a tailored approach in technology use and smart design for natural resources. This includes a sustainable structure concept that enables significant CO2 savings of approximately 34%, an energy generating facade with integrated PV surfaces, alongside prefabricated, recyclable and circular facade modules. The studio has also developed a future-oriented, sustainable, and innovative energy supply concept that includes the use of geothermal heating and cooling, district heating supply, PV as both a roof and facade system and E-mobility charging infrastructure. Further, an indoor climate concept has been proposed that offers optimal comfort and flexibility with an energy and area-efficient design.


Providing a bustling green heart for the district, the two core skyscrapers will house residential, commercial, and entertainment facilities. Their massing will enhance ventilation and wind comfort, while visually defining the New Heart development against the cityscape, creating a clear center for the neighborhood. Opting for an open spatial design to promote links within the surroundings and create areas in which residents, visitors, and office workers can come together, deep balconies and terraces, a public park, a generous neighborhood square and a community centre will enliven the public space. Facilitating this, UNStudio has proposed to extend the bridge spanning the Kennedydamm into the development, creating an experience path on the first floor that connects all the buildings with each other. This enables improved connection to the city of Düsseldorf and enables access to the surrounding areas.

UNStudio appointed to design sustainable and inclusive mixed-use development in düsseldorf



a community center fosters inclusivity


The community centre offers a wide range of cultural, gastronomic, leisure and social activities and forms the central social place for the entire neighbourhood. Its flexible facades which can be opened up over a large area to create space wider, accessible space. A mobility hub extends over the three-story office tower. This hub connects the pedestrian bridge on the first floor with the with the bicycle highway on the ground floor and the neighbourhood garage on the first basement floor, offering space for a wide variety of special shared mobility devices.


In the unanimous opinion of the jury, ‘UNStudio’s design creates an architecturally outstanding and identity-forming project in a central location. The vision includes a mix of uses that, in addition to office and residential, also includes multifunctional uses in the community pavilion – the so-called Urban Hub – and on the upper floors, which will be partially accessible to the public. In the future, the users of the quarter will be able to organize their daily lives centrally in one place, as the offer will also include gastronomy, medical services, sports, fitness, a mobility hub, day care center, local supply as well as cultural offers or edutainment. Placing the residents in the center of the agenda, the project will meet future requirements for working, living, and housing conditions.

UNStudio appointed to design sustainable and inclusive mixed-use development in düsseldorf UNStudio appointed to design sustainable and inclusive mixed-use development in düsseldorf UNStudio appointed to design sustainable and inclusive mixed-use development in düsseldorfnew heart dusseldorf new heart dusseldorf



project info:


name: New Heart

location: Düsseldorf, Germany

architecture: UNStudio

design team: Ben van Berkel, Jan Schellhoff with Julia Gottstein, Alexandra Virlan, Jürgen Heinzel, Gautam Tanwar, Nathan Ngo, Yvonne Yuen          

landscape advisor: Mahl Gebhard Konzepte

facade, structure, MEP, sustainability advisor: Drees & Sommer

client: die developer Projektentwicklung GmbH

visualizations: Engram