Building volume and location
The building providing modern working environments is the first component of the emerging innovation park in Augsburg, a place bringing together the worlds of work and research. Consequently, its concept is aimed at start-ups and companies from the research and tech sectors. In addition to the open-plan workspace design, catering and local shops on the ground floor, a shared conference centre on the rooftop, a day-care centre and many digital smart features ensure that the building offers everything its users need. The result is a small city in the building instead of the usual mono-functional office complexes.
Extending along the site boundaries, the building’s cubature conveys strength and solidity. At the same time, the powerful volume appears light and airy owing to the horizontal slats on the façade. Being visually detached from the ground, the building opens up its inner courtyard to the quarter, making it a local square, a place for collaboration, which interweaves the building with the urban fabric. Further openings allow people to pass through the complex and promote interaction with other institutions in the newly emerging quarter.
Added value for the quarter
The enclosed local square is the lively centre of the building. The semi-public space is well visible from the public city square, and fears to enter the area are reduced. The catering facility on the ground floor will become a popular meeting place in the southern part of the innovation park. The visitors to the conference centre on the rooftop and the children attending the day-care centre on the ground floor will ensure a lively exchange. Play areas for the day-care centre are provided in the green spaces to the south of the building and on the rooftop. Outdoor catering in summer, groups of plants and seating invite people to linger, and the openly designed ground floor façade allows views of the interior.
The building’s unique characteristic stems from its holistic approach to innovation. This approach achieves a synthesis of a vigorous form that conveys the user dynamics to the outside world, a high level of sustainability through a socio-cultural mix of uses and the building’s LEED Platinum certification along with a high feel-good factor of the working environments with varying characteristics, a tenant app providing access to all of the building’s smart features, and an air concept that has an invigorating effect thanks to subtle scenting, while at the same time filtering germs and viruses and therefore promoting the health of the employees.
Flexibility is sustainable
Work is versatile, requires variable framework conditions, does not only take place at a desk and may also be fun! A variety of uses come together in the building, forming a unit or rather a vibrant coexistence. Anything goes: units can be rented from the smallest of spaces, but can also be combined horizontally or vertically to create areas of up to 3,000 m2. There is maximum flexibility within each unit: the space is free of load-bearing transverse walls, and ancillary rooms are positioned at the staircases. Possible layouts range from individual offices to combi-offices with a central zone, to open-plan offices or state-of-the-art office landscapes with very different working atmospheres. Additional communication zones at the staircases offer meeting areas for colleagues or a place of retreat for confidential conversations. Creativity needs exchange! All rental spaces in the overall ensemble are complemented by the external [BM1] conference area and, on the ground floor, by catering facilities, local suppliers and a day-care centre for children. The mix of uses creates a high added value for the users of the building and the surrounding neighbourhood.
The design as a reinforced concrete skeleton structure with a support grid and solid staircase and ancillary room cores as bracing is economical and allows for the greatest possible flexibility and long-term changeability regarding use. Interior walls were built in lightweight construction or installed by the tenants themselves. Surface materials were chosen so that they radiate value and create an appealing ambience, but are also durable and low-maintenance.
The building has four independent entrances, each with access to the main staircases via a spacious lobby. External visitors can access the conference centre directly from the underground car park, while those arriving on foot from the city square cross the semi-public local square. Since the conference area is visible and clearly recognisable from here, visitors can easily distinguish the relevant entrance from the others. Each entrance is directly accessible from the local square, and the rental units on the upper floors are adjoining on both sides of the main staircases. In the case of large rental units, however, it is also possible to vertically separate an entire staircase, allowing up to seven units to be grouped together. Additional side staircases between the units serve as escape routes or as short vertical connections for staff. The underground car park is accessed in the south from the bypass road. Enclosed bicycle parking is located in the southern outdoor area near the passageway leading to the courtyard; further bicycle parking facilities for visitors are provided directly at the staircases.
The literal head of the building, designed as a flowing large shape, is the conference area on the 5th and 6th floors. It is positioned at the most exposed outer corner of the building ring and rises above the standard floors, making a strong statement and creating identity. The adjacent roof areas are accessible and become places of collaboration and community. Generous widenings inside the building create spaces for informal conversations between meetings, where contacts can be established while enjoying the sweeping view of the Alps through the generous glass façade. The conference rooms can be flexibly divided or combined to form smaller and larger units and, above all, booked individually via the tenant app.
Sehw’s contribution to climate protection
Sustainable materials were used to minimise the CO2 footprint and the embodied energy balance. The concept is rounded off by rainwater harvesting and the implementation of an innovative solar power storage concept using photovoltaics on the rooftop.
Solid parapets are hidden behind the striking horizontal sun protection slats, which reduce the glass proportion of the façade to achieve a better insulation value and earn credits towards the certification of the building. The slats are arranged at different intervals, so that there is less density at eye level when standing and when sitting. Horizontally, the expansive view is always guaranteed. The roof is intentionally designed as a fifth façade with extensive greenery and used to lay out children’s play areas and roof terraces.
Building services are responsible for a large proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is why the planned building is being designed as a nearly-zero carbon concept. LEED Platinum certification sets a high standard. The design follows the low-tech principle, according to which as few building services components as possible are installed.
Heat transfer mainly takes place via component activation. The concrete components thereby serve as storage mass. Internal waste heat from IT equipment, people and lighting is also exploited via heat recovery. Controlled ventilation with highly efficient heat recovery exceeding 80% is planned. Gravel storage tanks in the 2nd basement level are used to condition the air in advance (preheating in winter/night-time cooling in summer). The ventilation is controlled via presence detectors, hygrostats, temperature sensors and, if necessary, CO2 monitoring and occupancy times. Thermal insulation in summer is ensured by appropriate glazing and external sun protection devices. Intensive night-time ventilation and cooling can be achieved by controlled free ventilation or by room air conditioning systems via a summer bypass. In terms of energy supply, solar technology installed on the rooftop increases the share of renewable energies.
Completion ahead of schedule
Our pandemic times are usually associated with delays in construction. This is due to longer decision-making processes, construction workers who, as border crossers, suddenly have to go into quarantine before arriving at the construction sites, supply bottlenecks in the manufacturing industry and many other reasons. It is all the more impressive that our Weitblick project, the first large building complex of the emerging Innovation Campus in Augsburg, was completed ahead of schedule. This was made possible by setting the right course in advance and strict project management during the implementation phase.
In Weitblick, the possibilities of digitalisation are interpreted in a smart building concept that far exceeds previous standards – and will be groundbreaking for future office buildings.
Employees can save themselves the trouble of looking for keys or check-in badges. Via an app, they can order breakfast from the in-house cafeteria before work or reserve a place in the integrated day-care centre. A clever digital system guides visitors from the underground car park through the entire building to their destination. Those leaving the underground car park are informed about the current traffic and weather situation. A reception desk is replaced by info points where visitors can also order a taxi or ask for the next tram departure.