“Architecture shapes behavior” is one of the cardinal principles and practically the manifesto of the Danish architecture firm 3XN Architects. For over 30 years, the studio has been involved in research to push architecture beyond its established boundaries. The architects of 3XN aim to create architecture that pursues beauty, the right proportions and functionality while also placing people at the center.
The dualism between form and function is enriched by an intangible element – the human one – which complements this construction and is in turn influenced by it. The result is fluid and dynamic architecture designed on a human scale and able to predict and shape behavior.
The latest addition to the Schüco Headquarters in Bielefeld, Germany, is the paradigm of this principle. Schüco One, designed by 3XN Architects, is an innovative and sustainable building that connects to the other units of the group’s international headquarters. The Schüco Campus is a place of reception, production, experimentation and research open to clients, architects, visitors and employees.
Schüco One spans seven levels, connecting to the existing building via a five-story glass bridge. The external appearance of the building is characterized by alternating open and closed elements formed by highly sustainable aluminum opening systems, and the façade has light ripples reminiscent of the sinuosity of an accordion.
The interiors show the highest expression of the architect’s design principles. The fluidity of the forms and the exchange between the environments come together in the great central atrium on the ground floor, which spans the entire height of the building. The atrium culminates in a glass roof that floods the space with zenithal light and is overlooked by every floor of the building with sinuous, white railings in a curvilinear style. The verticality of the space and the abundance of light make the environment majestic and imposing, as if representing the robustness and 70 years of experience of the Schüco group. Rounding out the esthetic of the entrance is the stairway to the second floor, which was designed not just as a functional passageway but also as a meeting and exchange point for visitors and employees.
The interiors of the building were designed in accordance with the “New Work Principles”, which theorize a new work culture based on agility and individual aspirations. They were planned using a fluid layout, which puts the spaces in communication with one another. The workstations are not fixed and are freely available to employees using different configurations, which can be chosen each day depending on personal needs. The traditional workstations were substituted by creative ones, positioned freely inside Schüco One as well as on outdoor terraces.
From an environmental point of view, the building is one of the first in the world to hold the three internationally recognized sustainability certifications: LEED, BREEAM, and DGNB. The innovative design based on sustainable systems and the use of materials like aluminum, which is fully recyclable in a continuous cycle, led to these awards. The building does not only benefit the environment – the systems also promote the comfort and
well-being of users and employees. Schüco One looks toward a future in which interaction and exchange between architecture, environment and humans occurs in a single closed circle.
Location: Bielefeld, Germany
Gross Floor Area: 7,200 m2
Architect and Interior Designer: 3XN
All photos courtesy of Schüco International KG
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