Architecture in its fifth generation

25. April 2018

The firm’s fascinating history began in 1864 when Peter Heinrich Schmitz founded a construction company on the Lower Rhine. Churches, monasteries and factories as well as simple residential and commercial buildings were the purview of the company. There was no talk yet of urban villas, but even then the groundwork of high-quality workmanship, technically flawless construction, and long-term value retention was being consistently laid.

Portrait Ralf Schmitz 1977
Specialised in ecclesiastical architecture: numerous churches and  monasteries in the Lower Rhine region were erected under Peter Heinrich  Schmitz’s (1831–1908) direction, such as the abbey at Mariendonk near  Grefrath
Specialised in ecclesiastical architecture: numerous churches and monasteries in the Lower Rhine region were erected under Peter Heinrich Schmitz’s (1831–1908) direction, such as the abbey at Mariendonk near Grefrath

Specialised in ecclesiastical architecture: numerous churches and monasteries in the Lower Rhine region were erected under Peter Heinrich Schmitz’s (1831–1908) direction, such as the abbey at Mariendonk near Grefrath

“The richness and breadth of the Schmitz family’s architectural creations essentially provide a sectional of recent history,” wrote architectural historian Wolfgang Schäche in the lavish monograph Architektur und Handwerk, which was published for the 150th anniversary of RALF SCHMITZ.

But the entrepreneur’s intuition for elegant urban villas in top locations soon became evident. In 1896, the construction of an estate for textile manufacturer Dietrich Girmes and his family marked the beginning of the firm’s expertise in the premium-quality residential market. Further elegant villas, apartments and the Gymnasium Thomaeum followed.

The magnificent city villa of the manufacturer Girmes is the first villa construction by the Schmitz company
Die prächtige Stadtvilla des Fabrikanten Girmes gilt als erster Villenbau durch die Firma Schmitz

The magnificent city villa of the manufacturer Girmes is the first villa construction by the Schmitz company

Hieronymus Schmitz with the mayor and another person in front of the "Hofgarten" skyscraper in Düsseldorf

Hieronymus Schmitz, grandson of founder Peter Heinrich Schmitz, brought verve and knowhow to the residential high-rise and housing development market after 1945, developing these into the company’s primary focus. The firm’s work grew to include regions such as Essen, Cologne and particularly Düsseldorf, where the high-rise at Hofgarten was erected in 1971. By this time, the erstwhile construction company was now a residential development firm.

Ralf Schmitz was a mere 24 years old in the 1970s, representing the fourth generation of the Kempen family business, when the market segment became oversaturated and new opportunities were to be sought. He concentrated on especially high-end residential estates, quickly establishing the firm anew with its refined freehold flats in top locations and simultaneously pioneering this new sector.

Ralf Schmitz in front of the portraits of Peter Heinrich and Hieronymus Schmitz

Ralf Schmitz in front of the portraits of Peter Heinrich and Hieronymus Schmitz

Front view of EISENZAHN 1 - Berlin

Front view of EISENZAHN 1 – Berlin

Based in Kempen, the company made its first foray into Berlin in 2004. Stylish city villas in Grunewald set the stage for more to come in the metropolis on the River Spree. RALF SCHMITZ’s exceptional homes have become synonymous with the development of high-quality real estate. Sons Richard Alexander and Axel Martin followed in their predecessors’ footsteps in 2007 and 2011 respectively. In late 2016, international reports praised the prestigious Eisenzahn 1 on Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm. Further prestigious projects for all RALF SCHMITZ locations are also in planning, thus proving that founder Peter Heinrich Schmitz’s guiding mandate has withstood the test of 150 years’ time: “Only value will endure.”