In 1987, Jurek M. Slapa and H.W. Joos set up the architecture firm of JSK Düsseldorf, soon to be joined by new partners Helmut Oberholz and Zbigniew Pszczulny. In 2010, they changed their name to slapa oberholz pszczulny architekten, “sop architekten” for short.
Jurek M. Slapa, Helmut Oberholz and Zbigniew Pszczulny first met in Düsseldorf in the early 1980s. They got together regularly in an attic flat in Dusseldorf’s Flingern district, where they spent long hours working on their designs, drawings and models.
In 1987 they were commissioned to develop a competition entry for Frankfurt architects JSK, working up a design for what was to be Europe’s tallest skyscraper, located in Frankfurt. Shortly after being awarded the idea to build their 300m-high Campanile, JSK Düsseldorf was formed, putting the partnership between the three men on an official footing.
Together they opened an office on Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring in Oberkassel, initially with just one employee. As further projects, including the HWI International Trade Centre in Dusseldorf and Frankfurt Airport’s Terminal 2, followed the first Campanile commission (a project never actually built due to the opposition of a local resident), however, the firm grew quickly. 1990 saw the arrival at JSK Düsseldorf of RWTH Aachen University graduate Wolfgang Marcour, later to become a managing partner of sop architekten alongside Lothar Simonis and its three founder members.
In 1997, by unanimous jury decision, the firm won the international design competition for the new Düsseldorf airport, which required a complete rebuild following a catastrophic fire. This proved another milestone contract for the firm, which had meanwhile moved its 60-strong staff into premises on Schanzenstraße in Dusseldorf Oberkassel. In the same year, they won a competition for the Stilwerk design centre Dusseldorf, which went onto receive the 2000 Association of German Architects (BDA) “Good Building” award.
The firm’s long-standing collaboration with the Messe Düsseldorf trade fair centre started in the late 1990s, when their design for Exhibition Hall 6 was one of the winners in a competition that attracted entries from 180 architecture firms. Subsequently, some exhibition halls were gradually modernised and refurbished according to a master plan. In 2004, Slapa Oberholz Pszczulny went on to take charge of the Messe North extension and the construction of the Esprit Arena. Under construction since July 2017, the Messe South building with its prestigious southern entrance between the River Rhine and the Nordpark is scheduled for completion in 2019.
The firm is also responsible for two other landmark buildings that grace Dusseldorf’s cityscape: the multiple award-winning GAP 15 tower on Graf-Adolf-Platz, which integrates elements of the site’s historic Post Office building, and the Spitze Speditionstraße project in Dusseldorf’s media harbour district, completed in 2010, which comprises a footbridge, twin towers housing the upmarket Hyatt Regency Hotel and an office block.
Following the departure of H.W. Joos, in 2010 the Düsseldorf office split from the JSK Group, continuing under the new name of slapa oberholz pszczulny architekten. Since then the firm, which now employs a staff of 90 in Dusseldorf’s Karl-Arnold-Platz, has been run by its five partners Jurek M. Slapa, Helmut Oberholz, Zbigniew Pszczulny, Wolfgang Marcour and Lothar Simonis.
To guarantee the architectural quality of its projects, project managers, partners and staff meet regularly at each stage of the project, involving experienced professionals alongside their younger colleagues. This ensures that the firm’s distinctive signature style, which has been rewarded with numerous BDA and other architectural awards, is passed on to individual project teams.