The new Laces blends into the existing World of Sports ensemble as a floating counterpart to the black, recumbent mass of the adidas Brand Center. Its clearly contoured volume positively invites the surrounding campus to find a continuation within its interior, an atrium with a controlled climate. Lined up in a circular arrangement, the office areas with their large glazed surfaces open onto the atmospheric inner space and the remarkable landscaped zone. The connecting walkways that cross the atrium, the Laces, 'tie' the built volume together, as it were, to form a many-layered office building that is rich in relationships. They enable a maximum of interaction and allow open areas of communication to emerge. As delicate connecting bridges, they weave a poetic spatial structure into the interior and thus make the special creative atmosphere of the building legible. The result is an inspiring place for research and product development.
The campus is formed from a loose arrangement of individual built volumes, each of which speaks a distinctive and unique architectural language in it own right but at the same time takes its place in the diverse ensemble of the World of Sports. Laces is situated in the southeastern part of the site, between the adidas Brand Center and the Adi Dassler Sports Ground. The topography is used to let the landscape flow into the transparent covered atrium and the building via the two-storey entrance area, and thus to extend the extraordinary quality of the campus in the form of an artificial landscape. The green space of the park is present in the atrium at all times through the two-storey glass façade. The clear contour of the ring-shaped structure permits an uninterrupted view of the surrounding country from every department. Only the part containing the Test Hall lies outside the shell and is integrated into the topography as a greened-over hill.
Inside Laces the zones known as the Office Modules account for the largest part of the building in terms of volume and surface. This is where the 'creative units' will move in, whose working materials consist not of paper and files, as is normal, but of textiles, shoes and accessories such as bags, balls etc. In their understated white or grey colour scheme the office areas produce a studio-like atmosphere for creative work on products, designs and ideas. Here the purpose of the mainly neutral colour scheme is not only tranquillity in view of all the colourful variety of the products, but also to ensure a working atmosphere that is as bright and pleasant as possible. In a conscious contrast to the light-coloured Office Module and the white, transparent inner façade, the eponymous 'laces' take the form of dark grey catwalks, connecting belts which pass through and lend structure to the spacious atrium with their all-round charcoal colour.
At the points where the walkways enter the surrounding office spaces, the so-called Office Lounges form open areas for communication that are oriented to the outside thanks to the loggias placed in front of them and represent an invitation to stay and relax. The interplay of the walkways and the encircling Office Module provides maximum flexibility in the placement of departments and takes account of security requirements: there must be no crossing of other departments. Moreover, the disturbance caused by people passing through departments no longer exists. At the same time internal relationships between different departments are created by a high degree of transparency. The central atrium becomes a zone of communication adjoined by meeting areas for common use by different departments and by the bistro lounge.
The campus is formed from a loose arrangement of individual built volumes, each of which speaks a distinctive and unique architectural language in it own right but at the same time takes its place in the diverse ensemble of the World of Sports.
Innovation Valley constitutes a lower-lying green courtyard within the atrium and is reached via a wide flight of steps from the ground floor. Innovation Valley is surrounded at basement level by production and development departments in which research is carried out and new products are developed and made as test products. Athlete Services is an out-of-the-ordinary place: individual care for athletes under contract, teams and VIPs takes place right here. Individually adapted products are made and presented on the spot for outstanding athletes who enjoy individual attention from adidas. The Athlete Services Lounge, which is centrally located in this area, is bordered by various rooms in which body measurements are taken, clothing is tried on and shoes can be adapted and fitted with the help of the latest biomechanical methods of analysis. The Lounge provides a relaxed place where athletes can spend time while waiting for their tailor-made product and take receipt of it in a casual atmosphere.
Also situated at Innovation Valley and symbolically at the heart of the building is the Brand Archive, in which prized adidas mementoes, important products from the company history and the evolution of design and products, are kept and can serve as sources of research and inspiration for employees engaged in today's product development.
Laces was conceived as a flexible office building. Changes in the composition and size of teams or of the entire occupying units are every bit as normal in a globally active company like adidas as the temporary integration of employees from other locations worldwide or groups of external persons. This means that the use of space within the Office Module can be adapted to organisational changes more easily than hitherto. This reversible concept for office space is based on modular units of occupancy following the planning grid of 1.60 metres, a flexible partition system to create individual offices and meeting rooms, and on an elaborate technical pre-installation enabling media provision that also functions according to the planning grid. An essential point here is the allocation of the office space into three functional zones: two workplace zones, one each along the outer and inner façade, and a multifunctional zone between them. While the workplace zones contain both closed spatial units and also open group offices, the multifunctional zone is conceived as an open area that connects the two other zones. It provides space for informal meetings, temporary workplaces and space for storage, printers and other functions.
WORKOUT, a scheme of furnishing that was developed especially for adidas, was designed by Kinzo from Berlin, and in contrast to today's standard office furniture takes account not only of the requirements of normal ad-hoc communication but also of work on and with the product. At the same time the furniture design takes its cue from the architecture, the scheme of colours and materials, and especially the manner of working in the different departments and product areas. For example, a special system of cupboards and shelves was evolved that is particularly suitable for textiles, shoes and accessories like bags, balls etc., and can be equipped in a highly flexible way.
According to Kinzo, the company that designed the interior of the Office Module: 'WORKOUT translates the communicative architectural concept of kadawittfeldarchitektur into a furniture and interior design that was tailor-made for the individual requirements and the special demands of the working environment at adidas. Through the interplay of architecture and interior, Laces is like a perfectly harmonised film set that therefore matches one hundred per cent the identity of the company and the brand. The core item of the furniture system is the Teamplayer, a multifunctional spatial module that lends a dynamic and rhythmic structure to the open office level and conducts the wave-like flow of the building into the space. The effect of the bracket-like Teamplayer elements is to unfold separate rooms, light and transparent, and at the same time to clearly mark out the working territory of a team.'
the glazing of the highly insulated outer façades is a three-layer structural glazing construction that complies with the highest standards in respect of the thermal and moisture-protection qualities of the shell of the building. By covering the atrium with an extremely light ETFE cushion roof which is UVpermeable and requires very little cleaning, it was possible to optimise the outer surface (i.e. improve significantly the ratio of outer surface to volume).
Laces over-fulfils the requirements of the German directive on energy saving (EnEV) by 38.8%. The climate conditioning of the atrium is carried out by streaming conditioned air from the office areas with higher air pressure, so that no additional operating costs are incurred for the atrium. In this way it was possible to reduce the area devoted to air ducts in the cores, for example, and thus optimising the usable area. The energy from the exhaust air is recirculated via an energy recovery system. Considerable electricity savings were achieved by means of intelligent light control such as dimmable lighting controlled by daylight and presence. The illumination of the 'laces' in the whole atrium is supplied by means of a 750-metre-long LED lighting strip. The power requirement and the need for heating and cooling were further optimised thanks to controllable sunlight and glare protection (extremely high rate of use of daylight).
Project partner: Dirk Zweering typologie office building
Construction volume: gfa 62.000m²
Client: Adidas AG World of Sports
Competition: 1st Prize 2007
Awards: Office Application Award 2009: Best Innovative Concept