In these times you really appreciate having a great house,” says developer Stefan Höglmaier from his home in Munich, Germany. “Up here, we get sunlight from sunrise to sunset.” His lofty apartment is housed within a converted Second World War air raid shelter, transformed into an exhibition space and private residences by architects Raumstation in 2014.
It represents a typically ambitious project by Höglmaier’s company Euroboden, one of the most dynamic developers in Germany. Höglmaier set up the company in 1999. “I was always interested in architecture. I don’t know why,” he recalls. “When I thought about what I wanted to do I began to explore the relationship between architecture and real estate. I discovered that it was a very numbers-driven process, not really about content at all. I thought: ‘Does it have to be like that?’ Shouldn’t a building have worth over a longer time period?”
And so Euroboden set out to be a more enlightened developer, working closely with a city’s requirements as well as some of the leading architects of the age, including Sir David Chipperfield, Valerio Olgiati, Sergison Bates and
Sir David Adjaye. Höglmaier calls the company’s process “architectural culture”, embracing as it does every element of the process from conception through to sale. “My idea was to bring architecture and real estate together. You cannot do real estate without architects,” he says. The company’s first project was a modest residential project in Munich that was still seen as cutting edge by contemporary standards.
Euroboden has an uncanny ability to spot up-and-coming areas. In particular, Höglmaier recalls his early projects in the Berlin-Mitte area of the city. “There was little happening there in terms of residential architecture. But the city was well on the way to becoming an international destination. I thought that it needed an exclamation mark that put it on the map.”
The exclamation mark was a rippling, wave-like façade created by the German architect J Mayer H. “He’s from Berlin and this was his first residential project,” says Höglmaier.
Matching the designer to the site is another skill. “I have a strong architectural vision from the start of every project and I think about who the ideal architect partner would be. I never do the same thing twice, so I can’t say that I love one architect so much that I work with them everywhere. I love the broad spectrum of architecture, as long as it has a contemporary approach.” The end result is about making the most of a site so that it makes an enduring contribution to the cityscape.
Höglmaier is also a long-standing Aston Martin driver, starting with an Aston Martin V8 Vantage. “I went to the Geneva Motor Show in 2016 and saw the DB11 make its debut. I was the first customer in Germany to place an order,” he recalls.
His V12 DB11 coupe benefitted from his immersion in design. “I originally specified it in all black, but then I discussed it with an architect friend of mine, Thomas Kröger. We agreed it was a very modern and strong design, but he suggested that I have silver bodywork paired with a gloss black roof strake.” Inside, he marvels at the use of wood. “It’s beautifully curved, with large pieces of open pore wood.”
This interview is an extract from an article featured in the AM46 issue of Aston Martin magazine, out now. If you're not already a subscriber, visit magazine.astonmartin.com/magazine-subscription so that you can read the full story.