At first glance, one would not expect the K08 project in the harbour district of Cologne-Deutz, completed in 2020, to be an office building. The building for 400 LVR employees, which is docked to the east of an older building, has been given a distinctly independent form. This and the sophisticated design are also responsible for the appealing appearance of the seven-storey building. Like a light grey solitaire of concrete-faced building elements, it presents itself with a soft silhouette and all-round balconies that are immediately reminiscent of an apartment building or a hotel in terms of construction typology, which supports the complex’s facilities with underground parking and the in-house restaurant and café with outdoor terrace housed on the ground floor.
The large form, which makes the building very varied thanks to different frontage effects, makes a significant contribution to the attractiveness of the building. This is the result of the cleverly arranged floor space and the resulting building structure. The storeys each sit to the left of a neighbouring building and then form a slightly bent L through two wings moving away from each other. The corners of the building are mostly rounded in quarter circles, which – in addition to the advantage of optimised lighting of the interior – results in a typical large-scale form and an astonishing elegance that immediately arises from it.
A striking feature of the design are the aforementioned balconies running around the middle office floors, which are assigned to the rooms like individual loges. Their delicacy is created by a horizontal surface division of the floors and double round columns. The band-like balcony lattice is made of folded stainless steel sheets and decorated with laser-cut diamonds. The entrance level, which is kept rather closed, and the recessed roof level with the penthouse flat, on the other hand, have a restrained appearance.
The internal disposition benefits from the fact that the attached side takes care of the access and technology, so that all external sides are available for the primary functions. The standard floors can be freely divided: the offices each have a high quality of use, since they have direct access to the surrounding loggia via their floor-to-ceiling windows on the one hand, and ideal air conditioning and lighting on the other, because they can be individually adjusted.
What do you consider to be the supporting qualities of a good workplace?
Franz Markus Moster: The basic requirements are: sufficient daylight and natural ventilation, possibly with direct access to the outdoors. Summer cooling, i.e. shading options, must also be considered. A variety of additional facilities also contribute to the working atmosphere: sports facilities such as table tennis or table football (Activity Zone), relaxation facilities and places to retreat (Quite Zone), as well as meeting points such as a kitchenette or an espresso lounge (Project Zone).
Do you see any comparability in the room design for living and for working?
Yes. Three aspects seem to be particularly important for both functions: first and foremost, flexible usage possibilities. Equally important is the use of natural lighting and ventilation. The planning of flowing room transitions is also advantageous for both living and office spaces.
Which functional aspects are decisive for you in the future development of workspaces?
A mixture of individual and group offices form the basis – sensibly divided into multi-space, co-working and open desk. Furthermore, a hierarchy-free floor plan should be chosen in combination with flexible subdivision into specific zones: Working Zone, Quite Zone, Activity Zone and Project Zone.
|Client||GbR Renate Lucks, Köln|
|Architects||Format Architektur, UKW Innenarchitekten|
|Project type||New Buliding|
|Gross floor area m2||1.400|
|Number of employees||-|