Addition to Headquarters,
Ed. Züblin AG, Stuttgart

The construction company headquarters, designed by Gottfried Boehm and initially occupied in 1984, is located to the south of the busy Vaihinger Strasse and surrounded by office buildings from the seventies and eighties. Built seventeen years later, the addition is situated on the east side of this building, which is very striking with its four red-toned façades with industrially fabricated façade panels and window frames. The new architecture readily reflects the proportions of its large neighbor but takes a completely different path in terms of shapes, colors, materials, and construction.

The eye is drawn along its horizontal bands— alternating layers of glass and aluminum— in a single, smooth motion around a building lacking edges and corners. The length of the building, extending some ninety-four meters, creates a gentle wave-like skin. A concave element accentuates each of the building’s entrances to the north and south as well as its two staircases. The ends of the building, measuring approximately fourteen meters, are rounded toward the viewer, and on these ends the bands seem to come forward and then recede. All these elements contribute to a subtle, concentrated dynamism in the tradition of Erich Mendelsohn.

Despite its immaterial appearance, the façade features a substantial energysaving factor. Given that four-fifths of the matte, gleaming exterior skin consists of glass, a type of windowpane was chosen that provides high thermal insulation. There is a ten-centimeter-thick layer of rock wool behind the partly curved panels of the projecting balustrades.

One enters the building from the west. Both entrances lead through a light-filled hall with a spiral staircase forming an elongated ellipse with an open core. The seven floors provide working space for approximately 350 people. There are both assigned and non-assigned workspaces, but individual and group offices predominate. The windows and blinds can be opened and closed individually by switches. The flat ceilings require neither girders nor suspended ceilings, so they can serve as thermal masses to store heat and cold and thus help stabilize the interior climate.

To avoid distracting light reflections at the workspaces, artificial lighting is primarily provided by floor lamps. The floor plans are designed to allow for the partial rental of the building. On each floor the mere 14-meter depth of the building and the 5.4-meter column grid make it possible to use the central area of the building not only as a corridor but also for other purposes, such as for filing or for meetings among colleagues.

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