Architects: Struhk Architekten
Location: Wolfenbüttel, Germany
Project Team: Dipl.-Ing. Thomas Kröll, Dipl.-Ing. Henry Meyer, Dipl.-Ing. Ewa Behnke, Dipl.-Ing. Sigrid Benitis, Dipl.-Ing. Andrea Stroemer
Project Manager: Dipl.-Ing. Jochen Goede
Products Used In This Project: FSB, Door & windows hardware.
Photographs: Courtesy of struhk architekten
From the architect. Being a future-driven company with high demands as regards workplace quality, spirits manufacturer Mast-Jägermeister AG was after a fitting form of spatial representation capable of completing its corporate identity. The Struhk team of architects manage to lend expression to typical company attributes such as innovation and future compliance through the new head office they have built. They have achieved this by designing a working location that stands comparison with other contemporary office worlds in all respects when it comes to flexibility and modernity.
Fitting the building into the existing architectural structure was a particular challenge. The objectives were to a) forge a direct link with the production sphere and b) to establish a structural bridgehead with the housing round about. A variety of tree stands and shrubs cause the forecourt to blossom in a riot of green. A pleasant atmosphere is engendered by a water spectacle, moreover. It is elements such as these that permit seamless integration into the residential area. The structural interconnection with the production sphere, brought about by echoing the extant in the design of the facade, strikes one as being equally seamless. In terms of its materials and design, the new office building thematises several elements in the production halls. There is harmony as regards the height and looks of the structures, for instance.
With the aim of erecting a flexibly organised office building that can adapt to future trends, the Struhk architects came up with a concept under which the various office areas can be adapted to changing requirements. The great degree of flexibility engineered into the project means that, as well as two and three-person offices, any other conceivable mixes inclusive of large team offices can be put together. This reversible office concept is made possible by the use of lightweight partitions and the construction of flat plate floors conducive to effortless ducting. Any changes in day-to-day office routines can be catered to as a result. Hence, it is no longer a problem spontaneously reconciling needs for concentration and communication, for amenability and privacy, as they specifically arise and custom solutions can be delivered. Creativity seems to know no bounds in such a modern working environment.
New-style building engineering and an ecological mindset were key to the planning process for the new head office. The upshot is a “smart office building” with virtually self-controlling systems. The night ventilation unit “communicates” with the system controlling windows and doors, for instance. There is comprehensive networking between the building’s systems, which can be controlled with less input as a result. The Director of Information Technology at Jägermeister, Klaus Gerke, describes the innovative IT concept as being “the roundest on the market with the highest level of integration”. Thermally activated ceilings are used to provide spatial cooling for office areas that harness the storage capacity of the concrete. Water flows through plastic pipes set into the concrete ceiling, causing the surrounding concrete to cool. The latter, in turn, has the effect of cooling the spaces below.
The building is fronted by a glazed truss-and-rail facade. Besides copious glass, use has also been made of aluminium and, for the windows, timber. Forming the backdrop to all this is a steel structure extending over all four floors. In contrast to the dominant glass facade, the side faces of the comb-shaped structure incorporate a rather more gently-spoken material in the form of natural green stone. The interplay of intricate glazing and bulkier stone elements makes for a marvelously balanced overall impact.
The most conspicuous feature of the four-storey structure is its open comb shape. Three prongs jut off from the building’s main axis, in the process producing three interior courtyards that provide offices with light and hence ensure a pleasant, natural room climate. The admin building is accessed via a two-storey foyer affording a direct view of the main axis. This additionally reinforces the impression of openness and lightness conveyed by the glazing and the bright walls. Access to the upper floors is gained via a glazed lift ensemble and an elegantly curving spiral staircase in steel. The spiral staircase gives on to a gallery through which a lounge and conference spaces are reached. The main axis constitutes a linear access route that guarantees a building devoid of long detours. Office areas are conveniently linked by means of branching staircases, lifts and galleries. A large number of small “piazzas” acting as central meeting points and hubs of communication for staff have been worked into the areas between the various prong-like office landscapes.
The interior is notable for the use of natural materials. Dark oak finishes and the dark-green natural stone of the outer facade are to be found in floor and wall areas. The overall impact of the building’s design scheme is accordingly very harmonious. Interior and exterior areas enter into a compelling symbiosis that is taken further through interlinking with specific company traits. Particularly noticeable in this respect are colour accents in the shades of green and orange so typical of the firm. The colour scheme is rounded off by white-washed walls. The overall atmosphere created is bright and friendly. The glass facade to the main axis allows the steel structure to be seen from the inside too, the eye then logically being drawn to the steel staircase and adjoining gallery balustrades.
PRODUCTS IN THIS PROJECT
Door & Window Hardware:FSB
The FSB hardware selected takes up the constantly recurring materiality of the steel used. The Struhk architects opted for the FSB 1076 collection in the variant 7276 13 (AGL® heavy-duty furniture) in stainless steel. Door lever handle 1076 and window handle 3476 are of a sober elegance and ergonomic styling that is ideally suited to the overall scheme for the Jägermeister head office. The design of what has come to be known as the “Frankfurt Model” door handle derives from an idea by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens that was as simple as it was ingenious: he divided a round tube in two and mitred the two parts back together again at right angles. Door handle 1076 leaves nothing to be desired either functionally or visually. Its stainless steel looks heighten the building’s overall sense of harmony.