MVRDV just unveiled designs for a new mixed-use building in Esslingen, Germany that looks as if it were unearthed from a crystal mine. Dubbed The Milestone, the 6,500-square-meter tower “will literally be a milestone,” say the architects, due to the structure’s crystalline facade and eye-catching design that symbolizes the city’s future ambition. The building also incorporates sustainable building elements – such as photovoltaic panels and fritted glass to reduce solar gain – and it’s expected to become partly self-sufficient in the future.
Located in Stuttgart in the south of Germany, Esslingen boasts a robust historic core as well as a number of recent regeneration projects in the area of “Neue Weststadt” around the main railway station. The Milestone was commissioned to draw attention to the town and its ambitious projects in the center of the newly developed district that will accommodate a university, housing, and retail. “MVRDV’s ambition is to generate a building that shows the city of Esslingen and at the same time, opens up to its surrounding and its users,” write the architects. “To the people who pass by on the train, and to those that look at the city from the hills ‘Here We Are.’ It shows its pride, its history and its future.”
The Milestone’s part-mirrored, part-transparent facade will feature an interactive surface that communicates the area’s topography and history. Each square “pixel” panel on the facade is embedded with technology and integrated QR codes to show stories of the city and users will be able to learn more through an accompanying smartphone app. The large gap in the pixelated facade, called the “Essingler Room,” is for public use and made up of stairs, terraces and platforms that provide views of vineyards and surrounding hills. Public amenities will include a restaurant cafe and meeting areas, while the upper levels are occupied by modern office spaces. Construction is slated to begin in 2020.
Images via MVRDV