Almost all designers will confirm that it is easier to find a form if you are in an effective context. Such a context undoubtedly helped in the creation of “The Docks” office complex presented here. The location is very characteristic: on the northern basin of Frankfurt’s Osthafen, surrounded by container areas, warehouses and industry.
The local office MEIXNER SCHLÜTER WENDT, which was already known for its conceptual quality and had already realized the neighboring block, intended an architecture that was as sensitive to the location as it was site-forming, and defined concepts such as “storing”, “stacking”, “moving” and “shifting” as design parameters for this, which are formally connected with the motif of the container in a striking way. But the functional aspects of those practical and stable metal boxes were also to have an influence: the simple spatial usability and the modular principle.
The seven-story building, which offers offices and co-working, completely fills the construction area on the first floor and accommodates the parking garage on the side facing the river, and four foyers and technical zones on the street side. The quayside was emphasized in a pedestal-like manner by the oblique recessing of the wall, which supports the maritime motif. On this basis, it develops upwards in a comb-like manner and now consists of a rear longitudinal structure, which extends along the access road with stabilizing massiveness, as well as four transoms at right angles to it, the “containers”.
Not only does such a principle meet the current sustainability requirement of designing buildings in such a way that they can be economically reused during their lifetime – the structural variability of the interior disposition on the floors was also part of the brief here: use units and use packages that can be flexibly designed enable attractive options for prospective tenants, from corporate headquarters to providers of co-working space.
The basis for differentiated usability is already generated by the four-part large form, whose distinctive wings each have their own foyer including vertical access with elevators. The free-standing structure, narrow floor widths and floor-to-ceiling windows provide bright workspaces for open-plan or individual offices, supported by their own outdoor areas: each floor of the five- or six-story “containers” has a loggia facing the harbor. Three wind-protected roof terraces allow relaxation in the fresh air.
What do you consider to be the key qualities of a good workplace?
MEIXNER SCHLÜTER WENDT: What is important for the quality and positive perception of an office building is how it is embedded in its surroundings and how it identifies with its environment. At the same time, all employees must be able to identify with their specific workplace and feel at home there. This can be achieved through an open, communicative atmosphere that creates numerous opportunities for meeting and exchanging ideas with one another.
Do you see any comparability in room design for living and for working?
In recent years, the typologies for living and working have come closer and closer to each other in terms of atmosphere. Certainly also due to the competitive home office, communal areas, outdoor space and greenery now play an increasingly important role in working environments. Since people spend a lot of time at the workplace, the quality of their stay should always be very important – self-evidence and familiarity are essential aspects here.
Which functional aspects do you consider to be the decisive ones in the future development of workspaces?
As is actually the case in all areas of construction, all workspaces should also have a maximum degree of flexibility so that they can respond to changing requirements and users. Variable usage units enable the sustainable use of a building in the long term. Ultimately, this is about potential variance and diversity – without being interchangeable.
|Client||Groß & Partner Grundstücksentwicklungsgesellschaft mbH|
|City||Frankfurt am Main|
|Architects||MEIXNER SCHLÜTER WENDT|
|Project type||New Buliding|
|Gross floor area m2||37.800|
|Number of employees||-|