On the right track

The construction of an office building for 400 employees at the WankdorfCity site was the subject of a study commissioned by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The aim of the competition was to obtain a unique project proposal with future-oriented flexibility for the user that “puts the finger on the pulse of research in terms of sustainability”. The team of Christ & Gantenbein / Rapp Architekten, which included the structural engineers from Lüchinger+Meyer, designed a building with the character of a workshop, whose typology, with its regular load-bearing structure, atriums and chosen access points, is based on historic industrial buildings.
Unfortunately, our project proposal did not manage to win the competition. Nevertheless, we are pleased with the appreciative feedback from the jury, which particularly praised the conceptual approach especially regarding the sustainability: “The project makes a major contribution regarding sustainability and focuses on the right questions in regard to the development of future visions for office buildings of this kind. The goal of a compact building combined with a sustainable construction method as well as the choice of materials and the architectural integration of the PV modules show an intensive examination of an integral sustainability thought. This is highly appreciated and in line with the SNF’s ecological as well as social sustainability thinking.”

The design of the building is based on a five-story skeleton structure in timber between four access cores made of concrete situated at the corners of the building. The grid is approximately 9 m x 5 m, which is continuous down to the basement level, ensuring generous and flexible utilization areas inside the building. The primary beams and columns are planned in glulam, the slabs are designed as timber-concrete composite slabs. Recycled concrete is planned for the prefabricated floor elements and the access cores. The area above the two-story plenary hall on the first floor with a free span of 18m are designed with underslung steel cables, that transfer the loads from the central columns to the adjacent ones, impressing the jury who assessed; “the timber construction presents itself in all its glory”.

(Visualisations: Project compilation)