by Jincy IypeOct 12, 2021
Esteemed architectural firm Snøhetta has completed the metal framed, open plan head office for ASI Reisen, an international trekking and adventure travel company in Austria. A living ‘green curtain’ wraps the charred timber facades of the headquarters, mirroring its lush surroundings. Located in Natters, just south of Innsbruck, Tirol, the office space is designed for ASI Reisen’s 65 employees, offering a long-term low environmental footprint, and reflecting the clients’ working culture and core value of sustainable trekking experiences for travellers worldwide. “The buildings we inhabit and spend most of our lives in need to be built with as much consideration for natural preservation and energy efficiency as for comfort,” shares Snøhetta.
The sturdy design concept was developed by Snøhetta in collaboration with ASI Reisen’s employees, and is inspired by “a symbiosis between nature and humanity”, displayed in its verdant landscaping, green facades and airy interior design. Made almost entirely with light timber, the form features a mix of high and low-tech solutions for optimised energy, along with employing eco-friendly construction methods. A bridge links the new company building, which is placed next to the existing office block.
“With its resource-saving timber construction and sophisticated sustainable energy concept, the new ASI headquarters marks an inspiration for responsibly constructing our homes and office spaces for the future. At the same time, the new office space offers a pleasant and modern working atmosphere for its employees,” informs Patrick Lüth, Managing Director of Snøhetta’s studio in Innsbruck.
The building features Yakisugi, the traditional Japanese method of wood preservation in its slightly charred (and thus carbonised) façade, a treatment that ensures no further painting, makes it waterproof and repels insects. Light timber is used extensively for the mullion-transom-façade, the windows, floors and acoustic panels, while the basement and core is made from reinforced concrete.
Vines and creepers grow on a suspended metal frame that covers the wooden façade, in harmony with the outside greens. This green curtain comprises 17 warm weather and evergreen species of huge climbing plants, generously shading the glass surfaces of the façade and reducing the sun’s glare. An underground cistern collects rainwater from the roof and feeds the automatic irrigation system for the plants on the façade and the garden outside.
“The 118 climbing plants change the appearance of the façade throughout the year and also adapt to seasonal thermal insulation needs. The microclimate created by this green buffer zone reduces the energy required for cooling the building. Together with the 1,215 new plants in the open space consisting of 73 local species, the green façade also contributes to local biodiversity,” explains Martina Maier, Project Lead, Snøhetta Studio Innsbruck.
Along with flexible and spacious office spaces, ASI Reisen headquarters also host uncluttered gallery spaces, a variety of individual workplaces as well as relaxing communal areas such as meeting niches, a relaxation room, a cafeteria, showers and changing rooms. Plant filled shelves inside mimic the building’s green exterior, acting as visual zone dividers, and doubling up as storage space and healthy informal areas for employees to rest, read and write. The use of light coloured, beige palette for the office décor and furniture creates a relaxed, pleasant vibe. Dubbed ‘Base Camp’, the shared double height foyer with a hefty staircase resting within the office design also performs as a warm entrance, its walls plastered with the company’s history and achievements, while glistening, large glass facets present stunning views of the surrounding forest lands and mountains.
PV panels fitted on the roof generate most of the electricity needed for the building’s power consumption while a reversible air-water heat pump system heats and cools the building via underfloor heating or cooling. Smart sensors inside measure room temperature, humidity, CO2 and wind, along with controlling the natural ventilation and circulating fresh air through the building at all times.
Name: ASI Reisen Headquarters
Location: Natters near Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria
Client: ASI Reisen
Area: 2,027 sqm (Site area), 347 sqm (Built-up area), 1,548 sqm (Gross floor area), 1,389 sqm (Floor area), 5,469 sqm (Building volume)
Year of completion: 2019
Architecture, Interior Design and Landscape Architecture: Snøhetta
Structural engineers: Tragwerkspartner, Innsbruck
HVAC, building simulation: Alpsolar Klimadesign, Innsbruck