Almost 300 employees had to be accommodated when the globally active Schweickert Group decided to build a new headquarters in Walldorf, Baden. The building, realised by SCOPE Architekten, groups its three wings in a U-shape around an inner courtyard that accommodates a generously proportioned, covered open space with a barbecue area for the staff on the entrance level.
A building area of over 7,000 square metres was planned, with 251 permanent workplaces spread over three floors. The company placed special emphasis on the social interaction of the employees. Internally, the floor plan organisation promotes this by placing the access centrally and connecting it with adjacent communication areas.
It makes sense that the two- and four-person desks on the office floors are grouped in the open space or – isolated by glazed screens – along the windowed sides, while meeting rooms or meeting and collaboration areas are located in the centre.
Inherent in the concept is a communicative dialogue function that is also oriented towards customers and guests – corporate architecture as an “oversized showroom … from electricity to IT”.
This is reflected, among other things, in the deliberately visible integration of technical details, in the form of the ventilation pipes suspended from the ceilings, the electrical cables and lighting systems running through the floors like a technical network, or the pointedly placed acoustic grids made of dark grey and red board elements.
What the interior shots show could be described as a technoid charm generated by the space-creating exposed concrete walls and ceilings. This deliberately architectonic, objective character is supported by railings made of galvanised steel and Carl steel nets, which keep the stairwell cool but also pleasantly transparent.
The overall aesthetic created by constructive and functional materials finds its support and at the same time its atmospheric soft counterpart in specific lounge and work areas – where grey carpets lie on the light floor, where colour accents are set by upholstered seating groups or spruce furniture, colourful curtains and green plants.
Do you see any comparability in interior design for living and for working?
SCOPE Architects: Purely functionally designed working environments have had their day. While years ago this approach led to uniformly designed offices, today different factors influence the interior design of modern working environments. The main drivers of this change are – in addition to a cultural change in the companies with the aim of increasing the well-being of the employees and strengthening their identification with the company – above all the changed work processes, which are based on communication and collaboration in a team-based working world. These factors lead to new space requirements that can certainly be compared to the requirements for living spaces in terms of function and design.
Which functional aspects are decisive for you in the future development of workspaces?
Globalisation and digitalisation are seriously changing the demands on modern working environments. While factual activities are less and less bound to place and time, the importance of the office as a place of encounter is increasing. Communication and collaboration are the focus of this changed working world. Spaces that meet these requirements and at the same time enable changeable spatial structures for different uses through flexibility and mobility will increasingly find their way into future working environments.
Which material-related aspects are decisive for you in the future development of workspaces?
Climate goals that pursue a CO2-neutral or CO2-negative balance are now being pursued by most companies. For this reason, modern workspaces must also comply with the principles of sustainable construction. In addition to the use of regional products and materials, products and materials that follow the cradle-to-cradle principle or have already undergone a recycling process will find their way into the working world in the future.
|Client||Schweickert Vermögensverwaltung GmbH & Co. KG|
|Architects||SCOPE Architekten GmbH|
|Project type||New building|
|Gross floor area m2||6.704 (used space)|
|Number of employees||288|
|Technology||HENNE & WALTER GbR Ingenieurbüro für technische Gebäudesysteme|