The Rheinhallen were inaugurated in 1924 by Konrad Adenauer, when he was Lord Mayor of Cologne. In the 1920s, they represented one of the most modern exhibition facilities in Germany. Today, the demolition of the halls within the outer walls, which are being retained, is largely complete.
Next to the irregular right angle of the facade which measures around 200 by 300 metres, the exhibition tower (Messeturm), one of the landmarks of the cityscape, and the old gateway structure to the courtyard at the exhibition square (Messeplatz) remain in existence. It is not a case of converting the existing halls, 1, 2, 3 and 5, but rather of integrating a completely new, huge office building within the expressionistic facade that dates from 1924.
The television broadcaster RTL has already been secured as a tenant and will set up its German base here and transmit from these historic halls as of 2008.
The entire office space will cover an area of 160,000 m2, of which RTL will use approximately 80,000. A use for the tower is still being debated as this qualifies as a high-rise building and therefore has to fulfil particular requirements.
The halls are divided into 14 inner courtyards with an attic, hall facade and the outer facade.
The entire volume of the aluminium facades will be located in the inner courtyards, which alone will have an aluminium weight of 400-450 metric tonnes. Up until the opening in 2008, the facade will be engineered by the experienced metal construction firm Rupert App, from Leutkirch, who have previously worked on several projects of this magnitude, including the NordLB building in Hanover. The technical requirements will be established by the Cologne-based architect HPP, in conjunction with the facade designer AMP from Bargteheide.
Since October 2005, Hydro Building Systems based in Ulm have been actively contributing to the technical implementation in the field of facades for the designer. The current design will be realised in a WICONA element facade construction WICTEC EL. The consortium of property developers leading this project, represented by the Troisdorf-based firm Josef Esch Fondsprojekt GmbH, is expecting the first facade elements at the construction site as early as December 2006. To get a better idea of the size of the construction site, we are talking about approximately 4,300 element components each with a weight of around 100 kg. The large amount of effort required for the assembly provides an insight to the huge scale of this project.