1919 – 1921 / 1929 – 1931
Architects: Ferdinand Sckopp, Wilhelm Vortmann
Johannes-Brahms-Platz 1, Holstenwall, Hamburg
The steel skeleton building with fifteen stories was erected in several construction phases from 1929 to 1931 according to plans by the architects Ferdinand Sckopp and Wilhelm Vortmann on the former Holstenplatz.
The client of the Kontorhaus was the Deutschnationale Handlungsgehilfen-Verband, founded in Hamburg in 1893. With a height of 55 meters, it was the tallest secular building in Hamburg at the time.
Inside, the riveted steel skeleton building had variable floor plans. The maximum flexibility in the ground plan was guaranteed by the pier ring of the facade, which carried the loads.
The building was an extension of the residential and commercial building on Holstenwall that had already been erected between 1903 and 1904 by architects Werner Lundt and Georg Kallmorgen.
Between 1919 and 1921, architects Sckopp and Vortmann added eight stories to the building. In addition, the formerly historicizing facade was simplified with plain clinker bricks.
The bronze youths standing in different poses one above the other on corbels in front of the facade are a design by Karl Opfermann. The bronze elephant with rider is by sculptor Ludwig Kunstmann.
The life-size elephant sculpture was originally intended to stand at the corner of the building on Holstenplatz and thus in line of sight of the old zoo in the Wallanlagen. The zoo was famous for its elephant named Anton.
The arcades to Johannes Brahms Square are decorated with ceramic reliefs, ornaments and mosaics. Ferdinand Sckopp had the relief with the donkeys made by Ludwig Kunstmann out of joy for winning the competition: The donkeys, eating from a common trough, bear the names Sckopp and Vortmann.
The entrance on Holstenwall is in the older part of the building, which was originally erected between 1903 and 1904 by architects Werner Lundt and Georg Kallmorgen. From 1919 to 1921, architects Ferdinand Sckopp and Wilhelm Vortmann increased it to eight floors and provided it with a uniform clinker facade.
The entrance is flanked by brick cut reliefs with fairy tale motifs, designed by Ludwig Kunstmann.
The red and black staircase is also located in this part of the building. Since the building was heavily damaged during the war and a new building was added, the staircase has been preserved only on the lower floors.
In the head building, which was erected between 1929 and 1931 on today’s Johannes-Brahms-Platz, the entrance hall and the staircases are lavishly decorated in the Art Deco style with fire-red ceramic panels, colored mosaics and white-red-black color rails on the floor.
Restoration took place between 1987 and 1991 and between 2005 and 2008.