The managing partners, Jurek M. Slapa, Helmut Oberholz, Zbigniew Pszczulny and Wolfgang Marcour have successfully worked together for over 30 years.
The three founding members, who met as young architects in the early 80s while working in Düsseldorf, would regularly get together in the Flingern district of the city to collaborate on drawings, models and designs.
In 1987 they were commissioned to design a competition entry for the Frankfurt architectural firm JSK., for what was to be Europe's tallest office building, located in Frankfurt. Shortly after being awarded the contract for the approximately 300-metre-high Campanile, they founded JSK Düsseldorf, marking the official beginning of their partnership.
The office was located on the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring in Oberkassel and initially had just one employee. However, the winning of the contract for the campanile, which due to opposition from the local residents could not be realised, was followed by many new projects such as the HWI International Trade Centre in Düsseldorf and the Frankfurt Airport Terminal. The team expanded rapidly and, in 1990, they were joined by RWTH graduate Wolfgang Marcour, who would later go on to be one of the managing partners of sop architekten, alongside its three founders.
In 1997, by the unanimous decision of the jury, the firm won the international design competition for the new Düsseldorf airport, which required a complete rebuild following a catastrophic fire.
This proved to be another important milestone contract for the company, which had recently moved its 60-strong team into premises on Schanzenstraße in Düsseldorf Oberkassel.
That same year, they won a competition for the Stilwerk design centre in Düsseldorf, which went on to 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 winning submissions of a design competition that attracted entries from more than 180 architecture firms. Over the following years, a number of exhibition halls were gradually modernised and refurbished according to the master plan. In 2004, the firm went on to take charge of the Messe’s North extension and the construction of the Esprit Arena. The Messe’s South building with its prestigious southern entrance between the River Rhine and the Nordpark has been under construction since 2017.
They also designed and built two other landmark buildings that grace Düsseldorf’s cityscape: the multi 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 the project comprises of the twin towers housing development, the upmarket Hyatt Regency Hotel, a footbridge and an office block.
Following the departure of H.W. Joos in 2010, the Dusseldorf office split from the JSK Group, continuing under the new name of slapa oberholz pszczulny | sop architekten and has been run by its five partners Jurek M. Slapa, Helmut Oberholz, Zbigniew Pszczulny, Wolfgang Marcour and Lothar Simonis. They were briefly joined by Bjørn Polzin, from 2018 until the beginning of 2023, who supported the company's management as an additional managing director.
With an expanding order book, including commissions ranging from the Orjin Maslak retail and office building in Istanbul, the Campustower residential development in Hamburg’s Hafencity to a new terminal for Munich airport, a growing workforce and the creation of new departments, sop architekten finally outgrew its Karl-Arnold-Platz office. In 2019, the architects, interior designers and construction managers moved to new premises, on Emmericher Straße, that housed all its various departments, including a model-making workshop, under one roof.
To guarantee the architectural quality and integrity of each project, partners, project managers and staff are involved in every working stage of the development, with experienced professionals working alongside and guiding their younger counterparts. 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. This dynamic corporate structure ensures that the company’s high standards will be maintained in the future.
J. M. Slapa and H. W. Joos set up Architekturbüro JSK Düsseldorf
H. Oberholz and Z. Pszczulny become partners in JSK Düsseldorf
J. M. Slapa, H. Oberholz and Z. Pszczulny become shareholders of the JSK Gruppe, Frankfurt, Braunschweig, Berlin. JSK Düsseldorf goes on to complete material to the following projects:
Airport Terminal 2, Frankfurt/Main (1996)
Fort Malakoff Park Business Centre, Mainz (1997)
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Mainz (1998)
Düsseldorf International Airport (2001, 1st price 1997)
Stilwerk, Dusseldorf (2001, 1st price 1997)
Hohenzollernwerk, Dusseldorf (2003)
Broker Office Center, Frankfurt (2004)
Bahnhof Messe/Arena, Dusseldorf (2004)
Esprit Arena Düsseldorf (2004, 1st price 1998)
Northern Entrance + Northern Extension Messe Düsseldorf (2004-2010)
Messe Düsseldorf Regeneration (2004-2010)
Gap 15 Tower, Dusseldorf (2005, 1st price 2002)
EON Ruhrgas, Essen (2007, 1st price 2006)
Kö 18, Dusseldorf (2008)
DEG Corporate Headquarters, Cologne (2008)
Hoberg & Driesch Logistics Centre, Dusseldorf (2008)
Hafenspitze, Dusseldorf (2010, 1st price 2000)
The firm leaves the JSK Group and continues under the name slapa oberholz pszczulny,
sop | architekten. Shareholders Z. Pszczulny and M. Rutz take over JSK Architekci (Poland). The two firms work together on various projects.
Since then sop | architekten have completed the following projects:
UEFA Stadium Breslau (2011, 1st price 2007)
Copernicus Airport, Breslau (2011)
La Cour Vivaki, Dusseldorf (2012)
Orjin Maslak, Istanbul (2014)
Vallourec Head Office, Dusseldorf (2013)
Dusseldorf Airport Authority Headquarters (2014, 1st price 2012 in a bidding process)
Belsenpark Office Complex, Dusseldorf (2015)
Clara und Robert, Dusseldorf (2015)
Academic and laboratory buildings, Bergische Universität Wuppertal (2017, 1st price 2011)
DEG Campus, Cologne (2017)
Zooviertel Carrée, Dusseldorf (2017)
Andreasquartier, Dusseldorf (2017, 1st price 2008)
Equilo, Cologne (2017)
Goldbeck Corporate HQ, Bielefeld (2017, 1st price 2015)
Quartier Neuss Weckhoven, Neuss (2018, 1st price 2012)
CT² Center for Teaching and Training, RWTH Aachen Campus (2018)
KVBW HQ Building, Karlsruhe (2018, 1st price 2014)
trivago Headquarters, Dusseldorf (2018)
Borussia Park 8 Grad, Mönchengladbach (2018)
Campustower Apartment Block, Hafencity Hamburg (2018, 1st price 2014)
Textilakademie, Mönchengladbach (2018)
Neue Messe Essen (2019, 1st price 2012)
Fürst & Friedrich, Düsseldorf (2019)
Neue Messe Süd, Düsseldorf (due to complete 2019/20)