Facade design in 3D:
Railway wasteland transformed into a market research hotspot
The Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung [Society for Consumer Research] is better known to the German public by the abbreviation ‘GfK‘. Founded in 1934, it is now one of the world's leading market research companies and serves as an important source of data for the advertising industry by recording television ratings. In 2018, the company made tracks towards the future - which, in this case, should be taken quite literally. With the planning of a new headquarters on the site of the former Nuremberg freight station, the company initiated the merger of its three previous locations. As the new GfK headquarters, the ‘Orange Campus’, which has since been occupied, brought to life the Kohlenhof site that had lain derelict for over two decades.
Paying homage to the history of the former railway site, renowned architectural firm, KSP Jürgen Engel planned a five-storey office complex, with its three structures connected by broad crossbeams. The planners achieved a successful architectural reference to the site’s former use through the brick facade, interrupted by large window elements in a bold grid design.
The creative expressiveness of Ströher’s Kontur clinker brick slips (472 grey engobed) is produced by the finely nuanced colour spectrum of the selected 440 x 52 mm long format, and the unusual way in which these slips are laid. While the clinkered facade surfaces between the windows and individual storeys are in a wild bond, decorative bonds accentuate selected window surfaces at various points. On these rectangular surfaces, the clinker brick slips are laid vertically, turning them 90°. In addition, individual bricks on these surfaces stand out visually, as the individual rows of slips are laid at different heights using overthick clinker brick slips. In this way, the three-dimensional relief structure of the clinker brick units adds movement to the austere lines and puritanical effect of the facade surface.
The ‘Orange Campus’ is also ground breaking in terms of the quality of the physical working environment that the building offers employees, with roof terraces, green courtyards, automated control of sun protection, room temperature and light, and acoustic ceilings. The planning of the GfK headquarters took into account the ‘Gold’ standards of ‘LEED’ sustainability certification. This makes the office complex a successful example of how state-of-the-art office comfort and model parameters for sustainable construction are not mutually exclusive.