The building’s striped volume is squished hollow rectangle that looks a bit like a skewed bow tie. Office space, or as they call them “office modules”, are located on the outer ring and every work area has access to views and daylight. The center atrium is covered with lightweight ETFE cushions that flood the space with natural light. The ‘laces’ (catwalks or skybridges) cut across the space to connect different departments together, creating a shortcut compared to walking around the entire ring. These dare devilish walkways are not for those with aversions to heights, but we’re sure they must make the work day a bit more entertaining and will likely enthrall parkour aficionados.
Just like their high performance shoes, the new office building is all about high energy performance. An energy efficient HVAC system is achieved by streamlining the ducting system and placing only in the office modules, eliminating the need to condition the atrium space. 29 geothermal wells reduce energy use through geothermal heating and cooling and result in a carbon saving of some 80 tons per year. A triple layer structural glazing system provides a high level of insulation as well as moisture-protection.
On the roof, the areas not covered in ETFE are planted with native species of vegetation and landscaped to integrate it into the surroundings. Rainwater is also collected and channeled into a subterranean cistern for use in WCs and urinals year round. Any extra water is used to irrigate the surrounding grounds. Low-flow, no-touch fixtures further reduce water usage. All in all, the R&D building over-fulfills the requirements of the German directive on energy saving (EnEV) by 38.8%.
Images ©Werner Huthmacher