Located to the west of Karlsruhe’s most important historical axis, the “Via Triumphalis”, and within the celebrated fan-shaped center that radiates out from the Royal Palace, the Karlsruhe District Office is building a new administrative office on Beiertheimer Allee. Our design for the competition, based on the existing high-rise being demolished as planned, gives district officials as well as other residents to the west on Badenwerk Strasse and Am Festplatz a new, equally striking architectural setting.
Taking its cue from the legacy high-rise that exemplified the distinctive, elegant modernism of the 1960s to the 1980s, the new District Office features delicate textures and sculptural elements both inside and out. Simple and easily identifiable building sections convey a tangible sense of openness and structural clarity. The staggered rooflines that begin on Kriegs Strasse evolve in a linear, geometrical fashion and extend south in the same vein along Hermann Billing Strasse, until the individual structures consolidate into a cohesive architectural sculpture. This makes the new administrative building, which borders Ettlinger Tor Platz, into a defining urban landmark that can be occupied as soon as the first of two construction phases is finished. As the District Office will not need an interim building, there will be significant benefits in terms of logistics and costs.
Overall, the design is assertive, generous, poised and wholly lacking in superficial gestures and empty symbolism, striking a balance between much-discussed issues from urban livability, functionality and economic efficiency to sustainability and the pressure of public image. The extra space for an additional structure to the east, which will become available after demolition of the existing District Office, can be turned into a water-bound park with a grove of trees arranged much like a tree nursery until the second construction phase begins. This guarantees a coherent appearance for this prominent urban site, even during construction of the first phase.
The design also aims to create a hierarchy-free workspace throughout the property and to provide a practical, logical way to connect the special-purpose areas requested in the brief. With the aim of underscoring the civic character of the building, we have centered the public zone around a spacious foyer with two colonnaded corridors leading in opposite directions. The key structural elements of the façade, in addition to the floor-to-ceiling glass panes and the interior timber cladding, are ceramic tiles custom made for the District Office – in celebration of Karlsruhe’s rich tradition in crafting specialist ceramic building materials. The tectonic gradation of the building sections allows for distinctive, extensively landscaped outdoor terraces. The site will take on a completely new appearance and significance in terms of both mobility and quality of life in the city, not least due to the hybrid solution during construction.
Competition 2021, 3rd prize
Office, Residential, Retail
Investor: Kreisverwaltung Landratsamt Karlsruhe
Gross floor area: 32000 m²
Gross volume: 122920 m³
Vogeley, Philipp (Lead)
Jüngling, Maximilian (Project Leader)
bwp Burggraf + Reiminger Beratende Ingenieure GmbH, Munich (Structural design)
Topotek 1, Berlin (Landscape design)
hhpberlin, Munich (Fire proofing)
FC-Planung GmbH, Karlsruhe (Supply engineering)
Matthes Max Modellbau GmbH, Munich (Model making)
Grauwald Visualisierung, Berlin (Visualization)