The new head office and training center of the Arbeitgeberverband der Metallindustrie (German Employers’ Association of the Metal Processing Industry) was designed with the historical urban grain in mind, where grand manors and town houses with gardens and fences were typical structures of the late 19th century Gründerzeit. Our modern building is evocative of that era, but something about it gives us pause; it capitalizes on and yet distorts the familiar in both silhouette and surface material.
By dividing the complex into three distinct buildings, the design complies with the project specifications, but also suits the formal character of Reutlingen’s historic center. Each of the three buildings mimics the classic period house with its pitched roof and therefore appears to blend in with the urban setting. The stainless-steel façade disrupts the initial association with a typical “town house”; it creates the impression of three “stainless steel monoliths”. The familiar silhouette coupled with an unfamiliar surface material creates a tension-filled dialectic. The base of the building is clad in translucent ornamental trellises made of metal, referencing the absent garden fence and also showcasing the versatility of metal as a building material. The design alludes to the art nouveau movement with floral patterns and decorations in stark contrast to this industrial material. At the same time, the composition has an unsettling effect: on top of a light, translucent base sits a heavy, opaque monolith. The design reflects our consistent focus on contradictions and paradoxical concepts.
Competition 1999, 1st prize
Investor: Südwestmetall Verband der Metall- und Elektroindustrie Baden-Württemberg e.V.
Gross floor area: 4200 m²
Gross volume: 18000 m³
Servicephases: 1–7, 9
von Meier, Helgo (Project Leader)
realgrün Landschaftsarchitekten, Munich (Landscape design)
Werner Sobek Ingenieure, Stuttgart (Structural design)
Transsolar Energietechnik, Munich (Energy planning)
Horstmann + Berger, Altensteig (Building physics)
Schreiber Beratende Ingenieure, Ulm (Building services)
Ingenieurbüro Schwarz, Stuttgart (Electric planning)
Allmann Roswitha, Allmann Design, Munich (Graphic metal plates)
Hugo Häring Award 2006
Detail Prize 2005
LEAF Award 2004
Preis des deutschen Stahlbaus 2004
"Best of Europe", special award 2004
Deutscher Fassadenpreis 2003