GRAFT designed the new campus of the German lighting company TRILUX in Cologne. The design of the rectangular building is strongly inspired by the client’s craft: light, refraction and reflections are reflected – in the truest sense of the word – throughout the building and its design embodies the precision of lamp manufacture.
Against this backdrop of the Martin Gropius Building, the State Parliament Building, the “Topography of Terror” Memorial with its original pieces of the Wall, Friedrichstraße with Checkpoint Charlie and the Axel Springer Campus, the new residential ensemble marks a highly liveable dwelling in one of the most historically significant areas of Berlin. With a unit mix of 243 3-7 roomed apartments ranging from 40 to 300 m² in size, and 48 “serviced apartments,” the complex constitutes one of the largest, newly-built residential developments at this location since the 1987 International Building Exhibition IBA.
The residential complex consists of three eight-storey main buildings – Block A, B, and C and a cluster of townhouses situated within the inner block, D, which are slightly inclined towards each other, modelled polygonally and freely connected to each other by means of a green internal courtyard. This publicly accessible courtyard forms an oasis within the hustle and bustle of Berlin’s historic heart and provides pedestrians with a short-cut through its block-like structure to Mauerstraße and the middle of Friedrichstraße. All buildings convey an individual geometry and have a distinctive surface and façade concept which provides all apartments with generous loggias or balconies as transitory spaces between outside and inside.
The main entrance of the TRILUX light campus makes an inviting gesture at the corner where it meets the street to the north, its glazing rising from one to two floors to wrap around the building corner. The new building frames the site on the western edge, defining a new space of interaction between the new and existing buildings. The landscape design by Lill + Sparla creates an outdoor plaza that is green all year round, with delicate grasses that contrast with the uniform overall impression of the building.
The theme of the plaza continues in the building’s interior. The spacious, two-story foyer and reception area extends the public areas into the building and, together with the gallery on the first floor, provides generous space for exhibitions or communal activities. Likewise, the open stair in the foyer can also serve as a further meeting place. On the ceiling is a sculptural light surface designed by GRAFT and Trilux especially for the foyer that is at once architecture and light. The sculptural luminaire folds out of the ceiling, curving gently over the space of the auditorium.
The upper floors of the building house the company’s office spaces as well as exhibition areas for Trilux products and is therefore an essential part of the company’s own competence center, which already partially existed on the site.
The flowing floor plan continues in the upper four floors of the offices and extends the entire depth of the building, interrupted only by three circulation and washroom/WC cores. These so-called “Smart Workingscapes” comprise both open communication zones and enclosed work zones equipped with hybrid furniture elements that can be variably combined in modules.