One could understand a self-commitment to environmentally conscious building as the first sensible step towards architecture that responsibly shapes the future. Such an exemplary attitude is signaled by the passive office building of the project developer and general contractor DORNIEDEN Group in Mönchengladbach. Although it is not obvious from the dignified appearance of the new building, which extends an existing office complex to the west, the building materials used for the four floors with a gross floor area of around 2,940 square meters are the same as those used for the industrial building that previously stood on the same site: Bricks and steel columns.
Heating and cooling are provided by concrete core activation of the floor slabs, electricity is produced by the photovoltaic system on the roof, and the air-conditioned ceiling ensures uniform temperature distribution and comfort. The building is entered via a new reception area with a large skylight, which also provides access to the old building connected to the right.
In the new building, which is reached by turning left, there are first five meeting rooms and behind them a homely cafeteria designed as a “central meeting point”. It has various seating areas and an outdoor terrace. In the part of the first floor following the foyer, as well as in the other floors above, the classic office layout was chosen, with a central corridor and offices on both sides, which can be single or double offices as required.
All workspaces are equipped with height-adjustable desks, sideboards, wardrobe cabinets and storage facilities. The center aisle was given enough space to set up communication zones. The aesthetics of the workspace combine the clinker appearance of the new building with appropriate wall cladding, but also with bright white surfaces and an air-conditioning system openly routed under the ceilings, whose metallic pipes stage themselves as it were, deliberately creating a visual dynamism. This corresponds to the original request of the client, who wanted the result of the construction measures to be a modern working environment that combines a “feel-good atmosphere” with motivation and inspiration.
What do you consider to be the supporting qualities of a good workplace?
Martin Dornieden: In our view, these include natural building materials, ergonomic workplaces with height-adjustable desks, and a heating and ventilation system for a comfortable room climate. For everyday office life, we consider a balanced mix of communication zones for teamwork as well as retreats for concentrated, undisturbed work to be purposeful. In short, a good workplace should support pleasant and efficient collaboration in the best possible way.
Do you see any comparability in room design for living and for working?
In the residential sector, open-plan living and dining areas are very popular as the most important living area in an apartment or single-family home, because they promote sociability and communication. In working life, too, an open-plan design brings many benefits and supports exchange. For example, we have had good experiences with our communication corridors: our employees can meet here informally for short meetings and agreements and use equipment such as whiteboards or an advertising pillar.
Which functional aspects do you consider to be the most important for the future development of workspaces?
Modern office concepts today are all about agile, modern working and open communication. It’s all about optimally promoting collaborative work and rapid exchange among employees. A functional workspace must allow them to meet in different zones depending on the occasion and team size. For example, all employees are already able to present anywhere in the building in terms of hardware and software and are free to choose their workplace. Away from traditional meeting rooms and toward a flexible and inspiring work environment – there is a lot of potential here for an employee-friendly and agile working environment.
|Client||GERO Grundbesitz GmbH|
|Architects||DORNIEDEN Generalbau GmbH|
|Project type||New Buliding|
|Gross floor area m2||2.940|
|Number of employees||-|