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Steimlearchitekten, office building, Tübingen

Restrained Elegance: SüdWestStrom Administration Building in Tübingen

This six-storey new building for SüdWestStrom has been erected in a prominent position on the company’s grounds in Tübingen. It connects the administration offices with the technical buildings. With the prominent position, the architects decided in favour of show sides all around, meaning that there are no rear façades. The clearly geometric body with its stacked, identical openings exudes restraint yet is nonetheless imposing. The dynamic texture of the white brickwork façade refers to the historical brick building of the gasworks that once stood here.

The light-coloured, diffident façade with its oblique white window soffits engenders an interplay of vivid texture and a new architectural language. The new structure creates a small square and completes the ensemble of the existing buildings. The difference in height on the lot has led to entrance areas on different levels. Inside, these are connected by means of an atrium featuring a generous stairway. The lower floor has a passageway to the old building, which houses the customer service centre; this can be detected from the façade as well. This connecting area appears as a plinth made of a black steel construction. One level up, there is access to the employee entrance and parking lot. The customer service centre and conference areas can be reached directly from the foyer. An administrative area can flexibly be separated from the foyer, making it independent and multifunctional. The upper storeys are home to the offices, which can be rearranged to enable any type of work.

The access and utility areas are arranged in the middle of the building, so that all the working zones have daylight. A sunshade that is nearly flush with the window soffits provides a great degree of comfort and, at the same time, preserves the monochrome surface of the façade. With the light-coloured interior design, the architects have continued the virtually monochrome design of the outside.

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