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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Schwabisch Media in Ravensburg, Germany by Wiel Arets Architects

 
July 23rd, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Wiel Arets Architects

This new building is an office for Schwäbisch Media (Swabian Media), a publishing company active in many facets of traditional and new media. Six protruding glass-walled cubes define and compose the project, with their proportions and dimensions based on the surrounding traditional German fachwerk villas in the city of Ravensburg. These six working areas have been stacked on top of a transparent ground floor, through which access is afforded to each, creating a new urban typology in the center of this medieval city. As the company’s activities were previously scattered throughout the Upper Swabia region, this building brings all 350 employees under one roof.

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

  • Architects: Wiel Arets Architects
  • Project: Schwabisch Media
  • Location: Ravensburg, Germany
  • Type Of Project: Office Building, Headquarters
  • Client: Schwäbischer Verlag GmbH & Co KG
  • Tender date: 2008
  • Start on site date: 2009
  • Completion date: 2013
  • Gross internal floor area: 13500 m2
  • Form of contract and/or procurement: General planning contract
  • Total cost: € 24.000.000
  • Any specific environmental targets eg. Passivhaus, BREEAM, C4SH: DGNB certification, Silver rated

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

  • Wall u-values: u=0,26 W/m2K
  • Floor u-values: u=0,22 W/m2K
  • Roof u-values: u=0,25 W/m2K
  • Glazing u-values: u=1,10 W/m2K
  • Renewable technologies used: Geothermal energy

Design team

  • Structural Engineers: ABT, SSF-Ingenieure
  • M&E consultant: Winter-Ingenieure, HL-Technik, IHG-Technik
  • Quantity surveyor: Wiel Arets Architects, SSF-Ingenieure
  • Lighting consultant: HL-Technik
  • Selected subcontractors and suppliers: Reisch Bau, App, Lindner, Imtech, Siemens, Schmid, Maeder Office, Stotz-Schlegel, IGS, Reiser, Wirth-Bucher, Waeschle

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

Wrapping the project’s perimeter is a silkscreen fritted glass fence varying in height from 1-4.5 meters. This semi-transparent membrane provides additional security and features an oversized centrally located entrance in the form of an 8-meter wide gate, opening during the day and closing at night. Lending a singular identity to the clustered volumes, this fence also allows the six individual working areas to be individually distinguished. Therefore, this new office can be perceived as both several individual buildings, sharing a common enclosing skin, and one continuous urban intervention that fluidly interweaves interior and exterior.

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

The working areas vary in floor height, and are connected by a series of outdoor terraces, which serve as external shortcuts, but also as communication and resting areas, between the many media departments. These exterior terraces activate the building, encouraging informal communication among the building’s employees, balancing with the generously open interior office spaces. The hybrid nature of the office’s column free interior spaces, and the raised floors throughout for IT and data cables, allows the building to remain flexible and adaptable to future uses.

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

The building’s five staircases, parking garage, and most ceilings have been created using exposed concrete, supplemented with additional aluminum acoustic panels. Geothermal energy heats the interior, and a computer-controlled sunshade drapes the exteriors of the six glass-cubed working areas. Depending on the time of day, year, and exposure of the sun, an algorithm further determines which  portions of the shading system should be lowered. Office employees can manually override these sunshades, expanding upon the building’s domestic character. The silkscreened print on the perimeter glass fence and ground floor, which recalls the image of curtails blowing in the wind, provides further protection from solar gain, while ensuring interior privacy for employees at street level.

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

About WAA

Wiel Arets Architects (WAA) was founded by Wiel Arets in 1983, and today the office has studios in Amsterdam, Berlin, Maastricht, and Zürich – with an international team of architects and administrators globally engaged in architecture, education, product design, publishing, research, and urbanism. WAA’s output is acclaimed for its craftsmanship and hybrid-solutions, both achieved through extensive research.

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

Image Courtesy © Wiel Arets Architects

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