Axel Springer Campus Competition


In this proposal all that supports work (life) takes precedence over desks figuratively and literally. Passionate people, the future of Axel Springer, do their work because they believe in themselves. They can do it anywhere. They will do it in this building because they have a life there, because they are supported in every way. As an image and an experience this proposal suggests that Axel Springer is a framework for endless solutions. Like a city the building is open to hitherto unknown influences and solutions. Everyone, Axel Springer employees and the public, use this building in their own way. Open space for individual needs literally wraps the entire working core. This support structure defines the building and forms its image.

At the center the architecture is connected by a flexible workspace, a well lit simple rectangle of approximately 1355m2. That space, by far the largest on every floor, can be occupied by 200 or more people/programmers, it can be divided into smaller spaces, or it can be cor­doned off into cellular offices. It is workspace at the highest level but it is not prescriptive. Though there are other places where one can make a mess the new Axel Springer should feel free to do it in here too. This space is divided from other spaces such that people are able to focus and define their own atmosphere.

By contrast the seven different towers surrounding the desks contain a litany of other func­tions with unique spatial qualities and possibilities. The quality and supremacy of these spaces suggests that the knowledge of the company is open to all including the whole Axel Springer community. There people meet to exchange ideas, take on another approach, test an idea, meet a friend or take time alone. These outer spaces contain everything from legal advice to a swimming pool. These public aspects of the program extend well beyond the ground floor and in a unique way bind the whole project together.

In digital practice individuals and their ideas potentially need only a computer and sustenance. If we wish to suggest that these ideas coalesce in one place, further, one company, the in­centive begins with the qualities of the place that serve individual creators. In this sense the building is conceptually owned and used through individual choices and needs rather than an over arching strategy. The building proposes to entice people through their own vision, allowing them to see themselves in a variety of situations each different but each in the service of their own ideas. The building does not take ownership over the ideas inside of it but rather let’s them thrive in the people who make them.

The ever talked about concept of start-ups seems on a basic level to concern itself with new­ness born from a combination of collaboration and individual genius. It’s attraction lies in part by moving the economic engine from the big guys to the little guys. The start-ups strength in practical terms is the expressly stated willingness to disturb the status quo. The concept claims to do this within itself and (if successful) within our whole society. It is not a world of collectives. It is not the one for all sluggish system of corporations or universities. Our proposal is a embrace of this shift and a rebalancing of Axel Springer’s contradictions. This proposal attempts to harness the supportive qualities of Axel Springer allowing for agility.

Urban Situation:

The height of the new building references and refers to the existing one, creating one unity of old and new. The current entrance plaza is continued and enlarged to the other side of Zimmerstrasse.

The proposal extends from the center of the site to the street edges creating nuanced public spaces. There are grand open spaces that connect the whole campus, there are extensions that connect the new outdoor spaces to the surroundings and there are tiny corners where the public and Axel Springer employees can find intimate moments. The building itself shades and shelters the outside space giving it a quality very different from the Berlin block. Experien­tially there is a gradient from the street to the building(s) and further to the desks. The building wears itself on it’s sleeve, putting itself and its functions into view while maintaining coherence.

Circulation, General Organization and Security:

1. The ground floor is an open public space flanked by supportive commercial spaces. Every­one can go into all of these spaces.

2. From there people, go into one of the four public cores which connect all floors.

3. Going upward people arrive at their desired floor into a space shared by public and private concerns. In one direction they enter the secured Axel springer space in another a public space. (both directions can be secured.) The main security barrier is always when entering the large volume.

4. The seven volumes with or without cores are not assigned to the digital desks. They have varying degrees of privacy. At one extreme are concessions such as a shop. At another ex­treme there are small meeting rooms for the desk spaces located at that particular floor.

5. As a member of the public you are able to circulate across the ground floor, across the top floor and up and down. The circulation is public as are many of the protruding floors.

6. Basement spaces and parking access to the cores directly.

Office Space Organization:

The main office spaces are organized on 15 levels, each 1,355m2. (The total m2 of each floor is 3,418m2.) The proposal suggests that the desk space can fit up to 3,500 persons when packed closely or can be more airy, depending on needs.

Non-desk Space Organization:

There are 17 floors each with seven external spaces. As such there are up to 119 different spaces for people to use in the service of their ideas and goals.

One tower has primarily health, leisure and amenity related programs with a gym and wellness center but also places for external lectures and other outside influences.

Several towers (or wings) have different kinds of meeting spaces. There people can sit for an informal discussion, have a tea, or talk about serious issues.

Another tower has a focus on Axel Springer production, with an archive, library, board Room, training area, prototyping shop and place to test ideas on the public. (The close proximity and intermingling of outside people in general provides several opportunities to discuss and test early ideas with others).

One tower to the north contains living spaces, this can be a hotel and also a series of apart­ments. Like other towers it shares a circulation core with the desk space. It also functions as a building in its own right. It has its own conference rooms, service area and restaurant, all of which can also be shared with Axel Springer on the whole. The purpose of this is of course that people might need to sleep very close by. At a minimum, that option exists. Further, the tower also serves visitors and has the ability to integrate them into the desk areas.

Other areas of the building provide vital business support. To this end there might be a legal department, accounting department even a marketing department that would be visited upon by the people developing their projects in the main desk spaces. These functions like the others are services. Their presence is critical to the support structure.

Further areas of the building simply save time. To that end parts of the building can be leased out to various outside establishments. This could include a grocery shop so that people can buy things while they are in the office. There is also a planned bike shop so that people can have their bikes repaired while at work. Other functions include a flower shop, a dentist and so on.

Various restaurants and cafes are spread though out the building with an emphasis on the top and bottom floors. Even more basic office needs such as copiers, tea kitchens, bathrooms and water coolers can also be found in the various towers.

The garden on the roof top is open to every member, enriched by various programs including a kindergarden. It should not be an exclusive space but as the whole building be open and welcoming.