Comb with a hall

Design BGF+ Architekten
Location Offenbach, Germany
Revitalisation of a building complex to create modern workspaces.

The site in Offenbach’s Kaiserlei district, which is dominated by commerce, is located directly on the River Main. 1,700 workplaces form the Helaba Campus as the administrative location of the Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen. For this purpose, a building complex built in the 1990s in the shape of a comb with three longitudinal wings and two inner courtyards was revitalised. Two new structures were added to the west in order to create an additional connection between all the buildings at right angles to the Main River.

Bye-bye inner courtyard

In this way, the two inner courtyards were closed by the four-sided reconstruction, whereby the southern one is freely accessible via a ground floor open to the street and offers the employees a green open-air area. While the existing building with its granite façade retained continuity and recognisability, the new buildings were given a curtain wall glass façade and floor-to-ceiling glazing. Visually, this created large, communicative façade windows whose translucency – in a horizontal position – is reflected in the newly installed translucent roofing of the northern inner courtyard. This consists of a foil cushion roof and made it possible to use the former open space as an almost 1,120 square metre hall.

At 30 metres high, this now forms an impressive reception area and has sufficient volume for use as a forum where events and festivities can be held. It also accommodates the cafeteria, staff restaurant and lounge areas, which immediately became popular informal meeting places.


With regard to the new interior design, the cross span offered the attractive possibility of upgrading the structural connection of the wings by means of a continuous, approx. 3.40 metre wide corridor. Its boulevard principle enables uncomplicated mobility within the building and offers places for spontaneous short contacts – especially because many of the infrastructural functions on the floors are arranged along it: Stairs and lifts, access to the six office areas per floor as well as newly furnished bistros, meeting points and decentralised meeting and conference rooms. In contrast to the former omnipresent single-room arrangement of the existing building, Helaba mostly chose the form of multi-space offices in line with current working formats.

"Within the framework of a small architectural competition, BGF+ was able to convince us, among other things, to improve overarching communication by constructing a connecting boulevard building, thus enabling future-oriented work."
— Tim Steinmetz, Vice President of the Bank, Head of Real Estate Management Helaba

What do you consider to be the supporting qualities of a good workplace?

Katrin Müller-Reimertz: In the Helaba Campus building project, it was important for us to understand the workplace as a living organism. Every individual, whether employee or visitor, is a tangible part of the whole that wants to see and be seen. Architecture with a special quality of stay promotes communication at all levels. It makes it possible to experience a sense of belonging to the workspace and creates identification.

Which functional aspects are decisive for you in the future development of workspaces?

A variety of differently designed rooms and areas promotes the different work processes. This supports the aspects of agility, but also concentration. When we think of functions, the term office and administration building will no longer be correct in the future. It is about interweaving living and working. This includes living working environments and offers such as sport, therapy, leisure/culture – also services. Living working environments with directly accessible infrastructure are becoming more important, pure office locations are taking a back seat.

Which material-related aspects are decisive for you in the future development of workspaces?

In the future workspace, materials will be multifunctional. Wall coverings no longer just look good, but are also surfaces that can be written on (whiteboards) or are acoustically effective. Carpeting can influence the indoor climate by binding the smallest particles from the room air and helping allergy sufferers. When selecting materials, the carbon footprint and grey energy are important aspects. The regionality of the building materials used is another future topic.

ClientLandesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale Anstalt des öffentlichen Rechts
ArchitectsBGF+ Architekten
CompletionJune 2020
Project typeModification / Reconstruction
Gross floor area m257.186
Number of employees-
Workspace Furniture-
Conference Furniture-
Lounge Furniture-

Floor Plans

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