On a site where previously handlebar grips and table tennis balls were produced, a new development is taking shape combining housing and workspaces. After many years lying empty, the former inner city Hagedorn chemical factory has been carefully converted, renovated and extended. The heritage-listed complex now offers space for modern loft living as well as the new HQ of a digital agency.
The character of the old, industrial building has in part been preserved and in part deliberately disrupted. The entire building has been extended with a recessed additional floor. The old gatehouse also has gained an extra story, containing a sports hall, which protrudes out into the street – in form of a gold-framed cube.
Historical superstructures have been reconstructed on the end of the building, and contrast with the additional story, which is clearly distinguished from the existing building in its design language and its materials. Golden sheet-metal cladding serves as an eye-catching element.
The overriding objective was to preserve the industrial character of the preservation-worthy buildings in their basic structure, and at the same time create a contemporary, inspiring and striking work atmosphere by adding particular elements that fitted with the ensemble as a whole.
The gatehouse also corresponds to the large façade opening in the factory building, which now hosts office space for the approximately 140 employees of the digital agency. This opening is particularly important for the sake of creating the desired transparency. Around ten meters wide and 13 meters high, the glazed element spans four floors on the east façade.
The brick façade was in very poor condition. For structural reasons but also to enhance energy saving and for the sake of structural physics, it had to be renovated entirely. The new veneer has deliberately been kept dark to give the imitation work, otherwise true to the original, the necessary degree of abstraction.
For the extensions (penthouse level and sports hall), they chose the material TecuGold, since Alucobond appears very smooth and machine-like by comparison. Thus, the raw, color-abstracted brickwork with its matching mortar is juxtaposed to an artisanal surface that represents a thoughtful continuation of the old industrial character of the complex in the extensions. The processing of the material produces waves, and it has a charming way of aging. The original color of the material strikes a conscious contrast to the matt, raw brick. The gold remains soft and always vibrant regardless of the mood of the light.
The various different themed areas of the office spaces can largely be seen through the new glazed east façade. A tour around the building reveals just how much impressive dedication has gone into every detail of the interior fittings. A golden escalator takes guests and employees from the reception on the ground floor directly to the 1960s Bar Centrale on the first floor. With its solid, coffee-house tables and authentically styled seating, this offers a seemingly open, inspiring place to work. From here, a golden open-air bridge leads to the neighboring pavilion with the sports hall on the first floor. Beneath it, the former gatehouse hosts the large meeting area, which surprises visitors with its statement in neon: “lasst Blumen sprechen” – “say it with flowers”.
In the main building, the surprises continue on the second floor, where the orange-colored disco invites you to dance. Above it, there is a quiet corner in the Scandinavian area, a café inspired by the design of the SAS Hotel in Copenhagen – this time in a blue-toned variation and in conformity with the rules of feng shui.
These meeting areas serve for communication and break with the conventions of classic office buildings. Here, members of staff from different units can gather together or meet clients.
The open-space work areas mean it is the team itself that decides where to gather. Be it in the disco with its bright orange tones or in the minimalist Scandinavian setting, there’s something for everyone here. For greater visual depth, partition walls have been avoided on all floors. New steel girders that reach from the basement up to the penthouse now take on the load-bearing function. On the office levels, industrial-style latticed glazing divides the quiet office spaces from the extensive open areas.
The southern wing of the building contains 18 modern apartments with sizes varying from 50 to 150 m². Large-sized windows, cast iron struts and unsupported reinforced concrete beams characterize the living spaces and preserve the industrial charm of the old factory. The cast iron struts have been extensively treated for the purposes of fire safety, while detached, installed boxes form the infrastructure with bathroom, kitchen, guest WC and cupboard elements. This, in correlation with the large windows, provides for spacious, loft-style living with fluid layouts. The east-west orientation also means there is plenty of light. An additional story has been added to the roof so that further living space could be created without the heritage-listed structure having to be changed. Together with the surrounding housing blocks that have been built on the site in the last few years, new residents can also make use of a landscaped inner courtyard.
Location:Osnabrueck - Germany
Lead designerKilian Kresing
Design teamKilian Kresing, Stefan Fuchs, Hans-Georg Zündorf, Julian Hoffschlag, Raúl Zinni-Gerk, Ralf Tielke, Enzo Augello, André Pannenbäcker, Kai Binnewies, Quang-Dao Lê, Carina Bürger