German architecture takes a playful turn in WERK12, a mixed-use building designed by MVRDV that’s just broke ground in Munich. Located in a post-industrial site in the emerging Werksviertel neighborhood, WERK12 draws inspiration from its industrial heritage and modern graffiti culture. To set the mood for the stylish spaces within, MVRDV teamed up with artists Engelmann and Engl to wrap the building in 5-meter-tall German slang lettering that light up at night.
Located near Munich’s East Station, the 9,600-square-meter WERK12 was commissioned by OTEC GmbH & Co. KG as part of a 40-hectare urban regeneration masterplan that will create approximately 1,200 new homes and up to 7,000 new jobs. The mixed-use building will comprise loft-style offices, restaurants, sports facilities, a skyline swimming pool, and restaurants for nightlife and gastronomy. The façade’s use of giant German words, found in various youth and subculture groups, as public signage is a nod to the graffiti culture and extensive use of signage found around the area.
“WERK12 is totally unique and entirely new for Munich and is a strong contrast to the historic centre just ten minutes away”, says Jacob van Rijs, MVRDV co-founder. “It is a flexible and completely user adaptable building with spaces that can transform over time with bold and expressive texts on the façade are visible from a distance. This transparent building becomes a new focal point on the new Plaza that will form the heart of the Werksviertel.”
The five-floor building will be optimized for natural daylight and feature tall ceilings and airy, open spaces flexible enough for multiple uses. The high ceilings, all over 5 meter in height, allows for split levels to break up the space and add visual interest. MVRDV pushed the elevator shaft and fire escape stairs to the outside of the building to create the deep and flexible interiors, while turning the outdoor stairways into a focal point punctuated by 3.25-meter-wide terraces. WERK12 is slated for completion in February 2019.