UNStudio unveils winning plans for NION, Germany's latest new green office design
By Josh Niland|
Thursday, Sep 1, 2022
UNStudio has emerged as the winner of an international competition to design what it says will stand as one of the most sustainable office buildings in German history once complete.
Developers Groß & Partner recently selected the studio’s 45,000-square-meter (484,400-square-foot) NION office tower scheme to be located in a vibrant mixed-use district in Frankfurt called the Europaviertel West that has been under constant development since 2005.
UNStudio says it took a two-pronged approach to the ecological considerations presented in its design for the tower, which will also seek to be socially sustainable through the incorporation of specific programming that “encourages communication, gathering, and knowledge sharing.”
The construction of the tower will incorporate a variety of recycled materials in keeping with the studio's long-held desire to enact a transition to the circular economy. Prefabricated components and a modular support structure further embellish the ecological approach, while its photovoltaic exterior, smart building management system, geothermal heating and cooling capacity, energy recuperating elevators, and network of internal “green zones” provide a path towards DGNB Platinum certification.
Per the design team: "The northwest and southeast corners are cut away to create a striking vertical effect, emphasized by lush greenery. The cubature responds to the proximity of surrounding buildings and to NION’s prominent position next to the park, by way of angled facade surfaces that contrast dynamically with the cut-out corners. These cut-outs taper from the seven-story base building, picking up the lines of the surrounding perimeter block development and unifying the different urban scales. The vertical intersection of the inner corner on the northwest side also divides the building into tower and podium, giving the building a more slender appearance."
Green terraces and a rooftop garden are then combined with a 50% closed cavity facade and open groundfloor lobby space that includes a bakery and cafe to create what the architects called an “exciting relationship between interior and exterior.”
Groß & Partner Managing Director Jürgen Groß says the tower will "offer great added value to its surroundings, not only in terms of design but above all climatically and ecologically," adding that "a comprehensive sustainability and ESG approach for NION has been at the forefront from the beginning."
OKRA Landschapsarchitecten coordinated with the team to further enhance the site's connection to the Europa-Allee urban green corridor. No construction timeline was available at press time.
The studio is also currently working with Groß & Partner and HPP Architekten to finish the nearby FOUR Frankfurt complex by the end of next year.
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