New media campus for Axel springer by Ole Scheeren “Collaborative Cloud”

Ole Scheeren has been announced one of the winners of the future media campus of Axel Springer SE, next to Rem Koolhaas/ OMA and Bjarke Ingels/ BIG. The project is an extension to the existing Axel Springer Tower which rose on the opposite side of the current site, along the edge of the Berlin Wall. The architecture has been created to symbolize the city’s urban context and integrate the two sides.

Arch2o-New media campus for Axel springer Ole Scheeren (2)

Image Courtesy of Axel Springer SE

 With an area of 60,000 square meters the design takes advantage of the fact digital work can be done anywhere hence making architecture very important to bring people together.

Arch2o-New media campus for Axel springer Ole Scheeren (5)

Image Courtesy of Axel Springer SE

A space within a space is carved out, called the ‘Collaborative Cloud’, along which standardized and flexible spaces are arranged to create informal work environments. The void houses a lobby and is on an East West axis, also acting like historical portal to the merger of ideas.

Arch2o-New media campus for Axel springer Ole Scheeren (9)

Image Courtesy of Axel Springer SE

Retail and catering services are on the public levels. A partly sunken concrete streetscape is intertwined along with exhibition and gathering spaces to mimic the character of Berlin streets and create spaces for a multitude of urban activities. The plinth also holds extensive gardens and a rooftop garden provides area for events and views of around Berlin.

Arch2o-New media campus for Axel springer Ole Scheeren (4)

Image Courtesy of Axel Springer SE

The underground levels take care of parking. The spatial analysis shows strong and simple zoning with complex arrangement of spaces, thus the building stands like a beacon of transparency and integration. The architect description comes after the jump.

Image Courtesy of Axel Springer SE

Image Courtesy of Axel Springer SE

In an age where (digital) work can be performed anywhere, architecture takes on the increasingly critical role of bringing people (physically) together. For a company whose output is virtual the necessity to provide an identifiable identity – not only an image of identity but also a place of identity – becomes essential to its credibility and existence.

The “Collaborative Cloud” forms the heart and nucleus of the project and manifests itself as the conceptual and spatial identity of the new headquarters: an expressive invitation that attracts the inhabitation of its potentials.

Identity is defined not as an object, but as space – a pixelated void is carved into the center of the building to create flexible permeable places for imagination, collaboration, and interaction. Standardized flexible work spaces are arranged along the perimeter of the building, which dissolve and merge into zones of informal work environments within the Cloud.The invisible alchemy of the digital world is given an open spatial identity, which grounds the virtual in the real and manifests the values, production, and genus loci of Axel Springer as a contemporary digital media company.

Image Courtesy of Axel Springer SE

Image Courtesy of Axel Springer SE

An exterior envelope of generic workspaces that strictly follow the notion of rigorous efficiency tightly wraps around an inner core of collaboration and creativity. Spaces for informal collaboration occupy the collaborative cloud and are organized around the “digital void” which joins the network of enterprises into a shared sphere of experience and common spirit.

The combination of spaces for informal collaborative interactions towards the center with more formally organized work along the perimeter, provide a gradient of multiple work environments within the building. Digital natives and immigrants are free to occupy and co-opt spaces with various work styles and participate in shared activities within immediate proximity without compromising the serenity of fixed workplaces. The future of the workplace is coexistence with a multiplicity of choices.

An orbit of circulation around and through the collaborative cloud provides further connectivity and access in a continuous bi-directional loop throughout the building. The production of digital content is given a circuit that links the digital enclaves into a common unified whole while maintaining a sense of “neighborhoods” and independence.
The organizational structure of the building simultaneously provides a shared framework for the organization itself and generates its image and new identity – a conflagration of content and image for a digital enterprise.

Collaborative Cloud - Courtesy of Buro Ole Scheeren

Collaborative Cloud – Courtesy of Buro Ole Scheeren

Urban Integration
The design proposes an explicit mix of flexible and collaborative office typologies with a diverse array of urban activities and amenities to create a building not only dedicated to internal production, but to the interaction with the city and public domain surrounding it.

Collaborative Cloud - Courtesy of Buro Ole Scheeren

Collaborative Cloud – Courtesy of Buro Ole Scheeren

Public “passage”, one of Berlin’s ubiquitous typologies, traverses the building, retracing the path of the former border between East and West Germany, and connects the two surrounding plazas. The ground levels of the building form a civic base, a “market-place” like environment with cafes and restaurants that animate the plazas, and a terraced “concrete-scape” further connects inside and outside and offers a flexible surface for exhibitions, film screenings, and ad-hoc urban activities. An extensive garden forms a green lung on top of the plinth level of the building, which anchors the structure along the block perimeter, while a rooftop space provides a special area for events, with an outdoor terrace offering views across the city of Berlin.

Historical (Re)Unification
The project positions itself in an explicit symbolic resonance with the urban context and the historically charged site – adjacent to the former Berlin Wall, which once divided the city and the world, the building forms a contemporary counterpart to the Axel Springer Tower, Berlin’s first skyscraper. The new building opens a space of imagination and collective experience within the city and conceptually reunites the former East and West, emerging as a symbol of transparency and historic awareness.

Project Info.
Architects : Buro Ole Scheeren
Design Architect : Ole Scheeren
Location : Berlin, Germany
Project Type : Media Office Headquarters
Status : Invited competition 2013, joint first prize, 2013/2014

By Akansha Gupta

Proposal from OMA. Image Courtesy of Axel Springer SE

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