Roche Multifunctional Workspace Building – The basic idea of the Multifunctional Workspace Building is an elementary one: to provide a generous, non-hierarchical space for Roche’s employees to meet and work. Our project boldly embodies this idea through an open-plan design that invites unrestrained movement through its radically column-free floors, providing natural light and vistas throughout. A spatial generosity defines the appearance of the project. Its façade’s composition conveys dignity and representation. The borders are accentuated by vertical, crisscrossing beams, which bring forward its specific structural concept and in reference to its manufacturing background, high-quality yet sober materials create a refined and understated elegance.
Architizer chatted with Daniel Monheim from Christ & Gantenbein to learn more about this project.
Architizer: What inspired the initial concept for your design?
Daniel Monheim: We were inspired by the history of Roche’s German campus and its production and manufacturing background, established initially as a production site near the company’s headquarters in Basel. This architectural heritage is still present on the campus today and has influenced our design: When we look at the Multifunctional Workspace Building’s materiality and dimensions, we understand it’s not detached from its surroundings and context. We understand its status as a primus inter pares.
Besides the building’s expression and history, we also need to look at its multifunctionality. Our client required a programmatically flexible structure that could integrate many functions, from workspaces or public facing areas to a conference level auditorium. Clearly, this also had a decisive influence on our design, which led to the free and flexible workspace that we see today.
What do you believe is the most unique or ‘standout’ component of the project?
The project’s spatial generosity and its aluminum facade, conveying dignity and representation, play a significant role. Once we enter the building, combining structure, architecture, and functionality, the concrete coffered ceiling is definitely one of its standout components, besides the building’s open corners.
What was the greatest design challenge you faced during the project, and how did you navigate it?
Together with our client and consultants, especially INCHfurniture – responsible for interior design – we figured out how to best realize the building’s enormous potential. This was a gratifying experience.
From a design point of view, we had to come up with an elegant solution to form an exposed, column-free interior space: Structurally, technically, and statically. So we’re returning to the topic of the coffered ceiling.
How important was sustainability as a design criteria as you worked on this project?
We built a compact space with an optimal ratio of floor area and surface area, significantly reducing its energy requirements.
Through its deeply integrated flexibility, which we partially described above, it can accept and absorb changes over time and accommodate new realities. Its spatial transparency is highly sustainable: We can easily integrate new requirements and modes of collaboration in our design.
In what ways did you collaborate with others, and how did that add value to the project?
The collaboration with Roche’s team, led by Hagen Pfundner, General Manager, Roche Pharma AG, Germany, and its Facility Management, allowed us to create this highly flexible and forward-looking architectural and spatial program further accentuated through INCHfurniture’s design and choice of furniture.
Emanuel Christ, Christoph Gantenbein; Daniel Monheim; Stephanie Müller, Moisés García, Anne Katharina Schulze; Annelie Asam, Charles Bugny, Alessandro Cairo, Thibaut Dancoisne, Alice Francesconi, Teresa Gonçalves, Ana Sofia Costa Guerra, Lukas Kerner, Daan Koch, Andrew Mackintosh, Matthias Schäfges, Anette Schick, Leandro Villalba, Jean Wagner
INCHfurniture, ten+Brechbühl, Schnetzer Puskas Ingenieure, ZWP Ingenieur-AG, PPEngineering, hhp Berlin, IGW, Amstein + Walthert Sicherheit, INTELLICONCEPT
For more on Roche Multifunctional Workspace Building, please visit the in-depth project page on Architizer.