OMA’s Axel Springer building in Germany breaks down isolated thinking

In the city of Berlin, Dutch architectural firm OMA has designed the Axel Springer building to symbolise the media and technology company’s next step into the digital world.

by STIRworld Published on : Oct 15, 2020

The recent project by OMA, the new Axel Springer building marks an important transition for the German publishing group. Situated in the historical location of Zimmerstrasse, a street which separated erstwhile East and West Germany, the structure now stands as a symbol for Axel Springer’s move from print to digital media.

Axel Springer envisions the building as a ‘powerhouse of creativity’ | OMA | Berlin | STIRworld
Axel Springer envisions the building as a ‘powerhouse of creativity’ Image: Courtesy of OMA

Bisected by a diagonal glass atrium that opens out to the other existing Axel Springer buildings, the new building’s design has a series of terraced floors, which gives it the appearance of a ‘valley’ and turns it into a place for broadcasting ideas to the rest of the company.

The building stands across the Axel Springer Headquarters | OMA | Berlin | STIRworld
The building stands across the Axel Springer Headquarters Image: Courtesy of OMA

Drawing a parallel between architectural offices and newspapers as things which collate information from radically different sources and arrange them together for simplified consumption, this building by the Dutch architectural firm with its unique designs attempts to digitise the process that print has been able to do for years; making a complex and collective effort for the masses, affordable and accessible.

 The interiors of the new Axel Springer building | OMA | Berlin | STIRworld
The interiors of the new Axel Springer building Image: Laurian Ghinitoiu, Courtesy of OMA

The conventional newsroom, which is populated with the picturesque scene of dialogue, exchanges, and the awareness of one another’s work is a testament to how the thought process behind this design is to incorporate elements of this very scene.

In hopes of tackling the singular and introverted bubble of a person and their computer, the building was designed to broadcast the individual’s work to the whole team for shared inputs. Each floor has a more traditional covered work environment, which uncovers at the terraces. The valley mirrors itself halfway through the building to generate a three-dimensional canopy.

The covered and uncovered working sections of the building | OMA | Berlin | STIRworld
The covered and uncovered working sections of the building Image: Laurian Ghinitoiu, Courtesy of OMA

The terraces form an interconnected network, which stands to offer flexibility and room for expansion. It also sets an example of a design that is ready to answer any doubts of the digital future of the company and will be a new conversation within the vocabulary of workspaces in general.

The terrace network within the building | OMA | Berlin | STIRworld
The terrace network within the building Image: Laurian Ghinitoiu, Courtesy of OMA

The building can be experienced by the public on three levels – ground floor lobby, meeting bridge, and roof-top bar. The ground floor contains studios, event and exhibition spaces, canteens and restaurants. The people can also witness the day-to-day functioning of the company through the meeting bridge, which serves as a viewing platform to them.

The terrace network within the building | OMA | Berlin | STIRworld
Division of the formal and informal workspace in the building Image: Courtesy of OMA

The new Axel Springer building in Berlin officially opened on October 6, 2020, exactly four years after the start of construction and 54 years after the inauguration of the golden publishing house tower across the street. The new cube-shaped building is the latest addition to the Axel-Springer-Kiez, the ensemble of different premises at the media and technology company’s headquarters.

Sections of the building represented in diagram | OMA | Berlin | STIRworld
Sections of the building represented in diagram Image: Courtesy of OMA

Axel Springer had launched an architecture and planning competition in 2013 with an aim to develop a concept for modern premises on the “Lindenpark” site in Berlin that would catalyze the networking of the various, growing parts of the company and set a new standard for the transformation of the corporate culture through the multiplicity of use scenarios.

The radical design by Rem Koolhaas, architect and founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), was selected the winner as it focused on flexibility, mobile working and space for communication in an inspiring, aesthetically pleasing working landscape. 

Project Details

Name: Axel Springer Campus
Year: 2013-2020
Location: Berlin, Germany
Client: Axel Springer SE
Architect: OMA
Partners in-charge: Rem Koolhaas, Chris van Duijn
Lighting: les éclaireurs
Furniture: Unifor, Lensvelt
Main Contractor: Ed. Züblin AG

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