Besides the size of an object, the form is also a decisive aspect of expression and effect. Here we are dealing with an architecture that sensed the necessity of the one and effectively implemented the other. The “GE Additive Lichtenfels 3D Campus” realized for General Electric covers approximately 42,300 square meters, on which a versatile program of functions had to be distributed.
The elegantly stretched and thoroughly futuristic building complex, which now accommodates the international supplier of machines and systems technology for metal 3D printing, has impressive dimensions: 421 meters long and 22 meters high, which was dictated by the production specifications, but also by the number of workstations. After all, 450 employees are to be accommodated, with a maximum of 700. The space portfolio combined production, logistics, administration, showroom, powerhouse, laboratory, restaurant and gate. SCHMELZLE+PARTNER architects positioned the administration wing in a V-shape in front of the west end of the industrial hall and, with its effective aesthetics, gave the company location a noble high-tech character.
The façade structure of the two office floors sitting strikingly above a high base floor with the three narrow lines of the floor slabs and the building roof skillfully emphasizes the horizontal, the all-round complete glazing communicates self-confident transparency, the top of the complex is as it were a staged signal of the entrance and the company dynamics. The triangular auditorium at the top of the campus cantilevers over the reception area and houses a glazed meeting and media room with a wide view over the landscape. The office areas follow the open-office principle, which can be flexibly separated, intermediate room boxes allow differentiated work processes, and plant installations have a climatic effect. For the surfaces, the designers opted for tonal earth colors and materials such as wood, leather and copper.
Finally, the building was equipped with an exhibition presenting the company’s history and manufacturing processes. It was realized in the form of black, high-gloss and sharp-edged monoliths, which are now available next to the triangular reception desk and the comfortable seating groups in the campus foyer, which was specially dimensioned for this purpose.
What do you consider to be the key qualities of a good workplace?
SCHMELZLE+PARTNER: Flexibility and changeability are essential factors, as the classic office gives way to flexible working landscapes that support new collaboration and communication models. The goal is to create an attractive and creative work environment in which the architecture fosters user creativity and supports identification with the company, as well as fully leveraging innovation to achieve better results. Trend-setting methods for agile, individual and ergonomic working are mapped, because working must be possible everywhere in a spontaneous and varied way. The particular strengths of a good workplace are to highlight the categories of air, light, balancing stimulation, internal or external appearance, and individuality.
Do you see comparability in interior design for living and for working?
Yes, that’s why the design of our Workplaces also features furniture familiar from living areas at home or hotel interiors. In this way, the transitions between living and working become blurred, as is also the case with home offices. Work landscapes are created whose aim is to create a homely feel-good atmosphere while providing the opportunity for innovative, creative and ergonomic work. This is supported by color schemes and appropriate materials: wood and natural materials as well as warm color tones promote well-being.
Which material-related aspects do you consider to be the decisive ones in the future development of the Workspaces?
The keyword is, of course, “sustainability.” Strategies such as reduction, recycling and the use of local materials support modern workspaces. The use of natural materials and the pursuit of energy independence, as well as processes such as Cradle to Cradle, must also be implemented in modern workspace design. From the initial design of a workplace, the future must be thought about so that it can take place.
|GE Additive Lichtenfels Campus | Concept Laser GmbH
|SCHMELZLE+PARTNER MBB ARCHITEKTEN BDA
|Gross floor area m2
|Number of employees