Architecture in its fifth generation

Dedicated to tradition: A journey through 150 years of first-class architectural style


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.

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.

Historische Aufnahme Ralf Schmitz Geschichte
Manufacturer Girmes’s grand urban villa was the first built by the Schmitz company

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. 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.

Building in their blood: Hieronymus Schmitz before the impressive high-rise in Düsseldorf (left) and his son Ralf (right), who further elevated the company’s exclusive standards

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.

Eisenzahn Luxusimmobilien
A milestone in the company’s history: Captivating with its timeless elegance, Eisenzahn 1 is considered one of Berlin’s most exclusive addresses

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.”