The new reception building for the company J. Schmalz GmbH, located deep in the Germany’s Black Forest, is sandwiched between an existing office building and the original company headquarters. The project is characterized by the conflicts between tradition, high-tech production and nature all of which are inherent to this highly scenic location.
The design concept follows the principles of clarity, transparency, generousity and openness with the building organized in 3 distinct areas:
“Shelves“ - “Lightwell“ - “Open Levels“.
All the cellular spaces are stacked in a shelving-like arrangement flanking the existing office building.
The open plan office area, the restaurant and conference areas are accommodated over a series of generous, “open floor levels”, thus establishing strong visual / physical connections to the surroundings. These are united by the distinctive “lightwell“. This not only defines the circulation through the new reception building, but also provides its architectural highlight.It is here that the visitor is introduced to and experiences the company J. Schmalz. In a space flooded with daylight the generous staircase climbs up through this multi-story space, linking the conference areas, meeting rooms, informal communication areas before leading to the employees restaurant.
The innovative energy concept makes use of local resources, including the waters of the River Glatt flowing along the site boundary. Heat pump, active floor slabs and under floor heating allow for summer cooling and winter heating, using the water taken from the river. Three high-efficiency ventilation units with heat recovery ensure indoor comfort levels. The building is also connected to the company’s internal heating network supplied by a wood chip fired boiler. With photovoltaics stretching across both the roof and the bridge-link between the new building and the neighboring manufacturing hall, the company continues to extend their commitment to on-site energy production. As an „Energy-Positive Company” this vacuum technology specialist already produces more electricity and heat than is currently required by the entire production and administration facilities.