A Converted Bunker in Hamburg

Hamburg / Germany / 2020

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47 Love 4,889 Visits Published

How do you transform a raw World War 2 peoples shelter into a warm family home? Creative couple, Janine and Mark Seelen's new Hamburg home offers the answer. In a buzzing neighbourhood in Hamburg, in the street of Friedensallee, which translates to Peace Alley, the couple inhabit top floor of new apartment building with outside concrete walls 1.4 m thick echoing its former purpose as a bunker. A calm, clean and reduced to the necessary interior combined with well-crafted details offers a warm brutalism - exactly what Mark and Janine wanted to obtain in their new home.


Meet the owners
Mark and Janine met in an elevator in New York in 1992. After a decade in the States, the couple pursued their career as photographer (Mark) and graphic designer (Janine) in Hamburg. As a family of four they settled in the green suburbs, but after their two kids flew from the nest, the couple was drawn back to the city. During a trip to Japan, Mark and Janine experienced living in a number of small apartments that are not only functional and minimalistic but also beautiful and warm due to the all-natural materials and the paired down design. With this in mind they developed their new 82m2 home in downtown Hamburg. Today, Mark and Janine are the creative duo in Seelen+ where they edit fine visuals in photography and film.


The bunker
Friends of the couple bought the building and land at auction and converted the bunker into a 15-unit apartment building. Their main focus was to use the best energy standards paired with minimalist design for all public spaces inside and outside the building. During a trip to Japan Mark and Janine experienced living in several small apartments that are not only functional and minimalistic but also beautiful and warm due to the al natural materials and the paired down design. With this in mind these are the criteria that made Mark and Janine buy this very unique place: - the amazing Hamburg views from each room, - the opportunity to be a part of this unique project in general, - the facts that they had full control over the floor plan and all surfaces, - the idea to transform raw concrete walls into warm home, - moving into a very lively, desirable neighbourhood where one has a coffee place, restaurant, eco market in walking distance away from the house, - move into a community with 14 other inhabitants who share a similar spirit of the house.


The choices
The couple used the Douglas fir timber by Dinesen with a whitewash to contrast the original concrete bunker walls. The wooden interior was pre-build and dropped like a shoe box with a 3 cm shadow gap into the space. In the entire space the same wood was used. To create zones, they decided to varnish certain areas: the kitchen which is the center of the apartment with black oil, all floors living and sleeping area in white oil, the hallway in grey oil.


All materials used within the space are natural, custom made and handcrafted from the finest designers and craftsman: wood, glass, steel, and stone. The couple fell in love with the Vipp kitchen on a shooting for Vipp in Sweden. The all-black island and the dark oiled walls create a defined zone in the open, no walls living space. The kitchen moved into the center of the apartment as they both love to cook and bake.

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    How do you transform a raw World War 2 peoples shelter into a warm family home? Creative couple, Janine and Mark Seelen's new Hamburg home offers the answer. In a buzzing neighbourhood in Hamburg, in the street of Friedensallee, which translates to Peace Alley, the couple inhabit top floor of new apartment building with outside concrete walls 1.4 m thick echoing its former purpose as a bunker. A calm, clean and reduced to the necessary interior combined with well-crafted details offers a warm...

    Project details
    • Year 2020
    • Work finished in 2020
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Single-family residence / Interior Design
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