Past, Present, Future
This project is for a new administration building for the major German building systems company, Würth, to be located in their home town of Gaisbach. Given the deep connection between company founder Reinhold Würth and this part of Germany our project was based in a deep observation of landscape and inhabitation of that place.
The first observation was that the broader Baden- Württemburg landscape – and particularly that in the immediate vicinity of Gaisbach – consists of a complex system of valleys and hills of exceptional beauty. From the site, one can see down the valley toward Kunzelsau, 2km away, where the first Würth business was located. This determined the location of the primary office tower, a hybrid structure utilizing timber, steel and concrete as best utilising the different characteristics of each.
If the broader landscape provides the setting for the tower, at ground level we created a new Reinholdt Würth Boulevard clad in muschel kalk, the stone that is revealed in the regional landscape through erosion. A series of enclosures organise this ground plane and support extremely flexible work practices while providing for necessarily services, meeting rooms and so on.
Above the ground plane, the main first floor level is realized with giant inhabitable Vierendeel trusses made of laminated veneered timber and – as with the tower – connected with the ingenuity and practicality of Würth fixings. The scale of the trusses allows them to span the muschelkalk blocks below, resulting in the great flexibility and connection to landscape of the ground plane, while above, these trusses establish a flexible yet structured system of workspaces that can support for large groups, small teams or subdivided where single person offices are needed.
The project forms part of a growing suite of projects at TERROIR that show how mass timber construction can create sustainable and flexible workplaces and community spaces that are both heavily systemised yet bound to their context.
Addressing the scale of the village and the industrial campus
Site as Precinct The first act is to assert that the project is not a specific site but is a precinct that forms part of the landscape of Baden- Württemburg. The first move is to consider the site as a cohesive and dramatic whole, a landscape across the whole site.
Muschel-kalk base A key characteristic of this landscape is the muschel-kalk which is often exposed by natural erosion. When we erode the landscape a muschel-kalk surface is revealed, atop which sit a number of blocks that contain private meeting areas, storage and amenities.
Orienting the Tower A tower is placed atop the muschel-kalk blocks, oriented not to the immediate site but which looks down the valley to Künselsau. The tower inflects toward the centre, focusing the orientation down the valley.
Timber trusses To accommodate workspaces, an array of timber Vierendeel trusses navigate between the two grids and Building A which also responds to these. The use of timber creates a healthy and warm environment that relates to both the industrial scale and construction while providing elegant and refined “loft” spaces for workers.
Villages A series of “Würth-red” village elements provide collaboration areas to inspire contemporary work practices and are distributed throughout the office areas to support communities within the larger whole..
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