The New York architectural firm HWKN, has partnered with Landmarken, the prominent, Aachen-based developer, to create the next generation of the office. One of their new ‘Spirit’ prototypes – BrainFactory Bochum – opens in January 2023.
“We have to lure people back to the office. With Spirit, we achieve that by turning the building into a destination, adding lifestyle amenities, greater flexibility, and openness to what was once just a commodity. By adding emotion, we turn the commonplace into the unforgettable.” says HWKN’s Matthias Hollwich
BrainFactory Bochum will be followed by AlphaSpace Aachen and KiteLoft Koeln, to be completed in the next two years. At 86,100 square feet, BrainFactory Bochum will house approximately 600 employees.
The designers create Spirit’s futuristic, socially innovative workspaces by first utilising the latest generation of custom, prefabricated real estate products. Then, the shapeshifting begins.
In BrainFactory Bochum, their emotion-catching design is evident immediately upon approach. HWKN has playfully removed sections of the ‘prefabricated box’ to create a defining and iconic disruption of the standard exterior. Then, they went further. Since the prefab system does not allow for cantilevers, HWKN opted for a daring, distorted-column grid.
“We uplifted and twisted the standard image of ‘the box!’” says Hollwich.
On the inside, to enhance the sociability of this workplace, HWKN exposes interior, structural columns, cutting out sections of the prefab box. Light now floods into the seating lounges. The same reconfiguration – a cut-out turned 45 degrees – also creates light-filled co-working areas. The brass finish of the sculpted exterior extends throughout, adding personality and forging an aesthetic link to the building as a whole and the city surrounding it.
“We have reinvented the box while still taking advantage of mass production. The early Modernists of the Twentieth Century sought to make elegant, mass-produced housing. A hundred years later we are doing the same for the office with an emotional twist.” says Hollwich
The Spirit brand embodies HWKN’s core design principles: respect for nature, a happy and healthy work environment, intelligent design, and dedication to both neighbours and the community at large.
A design breakthrough, Spirit has resonated with HWKN’s client, Landmarken.
“We were excited by an office design that was inspired by the progressive urban design of New York whilst still being affordable. When they open, Spirit Offices will help our clients attract top talent by creating an energised workplace and culture that beats the home office.” says Landmarken’s Jochen Hermanns