Unilever’s new Hamburg headquarters stands prominently on the cruise ship terminal on the banks of the Elbe between the old city centre and the new HafenCity, Hamburg’s massive port regeneration scheme whose visionary approach comprises the aim to reduce CO2 emissions. The synergy created between developer Hochtief, user Unilever and Behnisch Architekten meant that right from the drawing board the joint objective was architecture that would combine functional excellence, environmental sustainability and low energy consumption. The whole project revolves around a central atrium, a largely glazed covered interior court flooded with natural daylight. The court is enlivened by a medley of activities – café, restaurant, and a spa. It is also the strategic access point to the upper floor offices occupied by the company’s 1200 employees in open-space environments partitioned by modular, yet customized furnishing systems. Large terraces give sweeping views across the Elbe or overlook the inner court where shops sell company products. The architectural programme has eschewed the long-corridor-type interior plan and instead makes use of easy-access ramps, stairs and lifts to take people to the Meeting Points distributed on the various floors. Here wood tables, sofas and armchairs create a relaxed atmosphere encouraging informal, friendly gatherings. As well as impeccably meeting its functional brief, the building also complies with sustainable architecture principles. All areas have been designed to capture the maximum amount of natural light and create a comfort-zone microclimate. Each floor has manually operable heating radiators as well as external sun-screening to protect occupants from direct sunlight. Active and passive systems have been installed throughout the building. To avoid the inlet of diesel fumes from ships at the nearby terminals, natural ventilation in rooms with windows is combined with a mechanical compressed-air circulation system in which incoming air is conveyed and filtered in underground pipes. Vents near the huge central skylight expel saturated air at roof level, retaining the air’s heat, however, by means of heat exchangers. On the exterior, a tubular steel structure supports a transparent Etfe film windscreen. While allowing the passage of air, the screen protects all operable openings on the façade from wind and bad weather. LED illumination, designed together with Nimbus Design, allows some 70% energy saving compared to normal lighting. The use of eco-friendly building materials minimized the building’s footprint during construction, as it will for the length of its useful life and on decommissioning. A wastewater recycling plant is a further environmental plus. The initial investment made for such state-of-the-art technologies will reduce energy consumption to as little as 100 KW/h of primary energy per square metre a year. This includes heating, cooling and lighting. The building has received the HafenCity Ecolabel in gold thanks to its very low primary energy requirement.