Colleagues and guests on one level

8 min read

The multiple prize-winning architecture firm Sauerbruch Hutton, headquartered in Berlin, is considered to be one of Germany’s most renowned architectural practices. Nonetheless, the new plant for Gira in Radevormwald was a novelty for the experienced architects, who had never built anything in this industrial magnitude before.

 Two employees go through a hall in logistics, production and development takes place.

New production, development and logistics centre

The task: bring production, logistics and development together under one roof and enable a wide range of encounters – sustainably, with a demanding design and in harmony with its surroundings. And with the option to expand by another 20,000 square metres when needed.

The 30,000 square-metre new build, which represents the largest capital investment Gira has ever made, now unifies all the functions in the value chain – from goods receipt to assembly to goods issue, with highly efficient picking and warehouse logistics in between. There is also an innovative development centre. The concentration of production, logistics and development centre will result in significant productivity improvements, thanks to shorter distances, intelligent workflows and improved process efficiency. Some 550 people will be working here as soon as the relocation and commissioning are completed in October 2019.

Complex requirements

The new plant had to reflect the values and brand essence of Gira, which placed special requirements on the architects: first and foremost, the workflows in the production and logistics processes – some of which are highly automated – had to be harmonised with a resource-conserving, energy-efficient building. The building also had to satisfy the highest design standards, of course, and last but not least, the employees were to enjoy a functional, yet enjoyable work environment that even makes encounters with external visitors a pleasure.

Pleasant work environment

The latter was executed perfectly in all three areas – production, logistics and administration/development: plentiful natural light creates bright, inviting rooms; generous ceiling heights and sophisticated acoustics ensure a pleasant work environment. The connecting elements were a key focus.

Employees and visitors use the same entrance and share a cafeteria – spaces for everyone that promote encounters across all departments and affiliations. To support optimal collaboration between different areas, the interior of the building ensemble is characterised by an access intersection that links the entrance area with the changing rooms, company administration and development, along with reception, the conference rooms and the cafeteria.

Individual facade design

The building's envelope doesn’t only impress through its size – the façade design follows two guiding principles, as the architect Matthias Sauerbruch describes: “On one hand, we wanted to combine the three areas of the complex with a consistent design, while on the other hand, the surfaces with their oscillating colours are intended to break up the large surface area and give everything a shimmering appearance that changes continuously in the different lighting situations.” Thousands of panels in black, white and shades of grey combine to create a façade with high recognition value, whose rhythm generates the desired shimmer effect and enables a harmonic encounter between architecture and nature.

 Facade of the Gira production, development and logistics center
The new building in Radevormwald covers 30,000 square meters. Here logistics, production and development are housed under one roof.
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BENCOUNTER [#6] or: what could you find?

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Studied sustainability

An energy-efficient, sustainable building was naturally a requirement for Gira, with correspondingly high demands of the energy concept. The ensemble fulfils the KfW 55 energy efficiency standard, which means it consumes 45 per cent less energy than current energy-saving regulations demand. A concept that optimises energy generation and use was developed in collaboration with engineering firm TEN Ingenieure from Aachen (planning professionals for building services) and the climate engineer Professor Probst.

+ time since groundbreaking: two and a half years
+ 65 contract work sections shared by 120 companies involving more than 1,200 employees
+ 21,000 cubic metres of moved earth
+ 4,000 tonnes of steel
+ 250 tonnes of aluminium
+ 2,900 bored piles to stabilise the floor
+ 15,000 stainless steel dowels used in construction
+ 70 kilometres of heating pipes and 110 kilometres of cables laid.

 Gira new building view from the inside
The interior is designed to support all types of encounters and pleasant working as well.
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