The Lübeck Merchants‘ Association has been awarding the “Architecture Prize for Commercial Buildings” since 1990. The aim is to honor buildings in the Lübeck region in order to draw the public and experts‘ attention to the importance of the designed environment and the building activity of our time.
We won this “Architecture Prize for Commercial Buildings” from the Lübeck Merchants’ Association with our new office building!
This year the prize was awarded under the submit „beautiful-sustainable-together“ and particularly honors the successful promotion of ecological, economic and socio-cultural sustainability aspects in construction.
For the award ceremony, the Lübeck merchants‘ association with parts of the board and the architecture prize jury visited us in Kastorf on March 8th and together we affixed the prize in form of a plaque at our main entrance.
Here are a few words about our new office building and more about the considerations that played a key role in the planning:
The claus rodenberg group has been founded in Kastorf over 30 years ago. As a service provider to the forestry and timber industry, the company’s goal is to care for and manage the forest and to make use of the renewable raw material wood. As the business areas grew and the amount of wood needed to be handled, the waldkontor family has also grween, which is why the decision has benn made to expand the existing office building with a new, attached building. “Everything from a single source, all about the forest and for holistic usage”, this motto does not only describ our corporate goal, but also the guidelines for the conception of our new building.
The renewable raw material wood with its diverse properties is its center and the materiality of wood has significantly determined the development of our project. The new building was a labor of love that not only had to meet the functional and aesthetic requirements, but also the demand for innovation and future viability. An architect must be a visionary in the spirit of those who bring the building to life. That’s why the office building should be designed for the employees and in a way that not only creates an ideal working environment, but also enables everyone to feel as comfortable as at home during their working hours. However, a company also has a responsibility to maintain the health of its employees, who spend a significant part of the day in the office, as well as the environment and society through the careful use of resources and climate-friendly use strategies.
Wood in construction, sustainability and innovation were the three core requirements that had to be implemented in the overall context of aesthetics, sculptural art and value. This made it possible to create a showcase object that addresses the special challenges of wood as a building material. The structural wood protection largely determines the structure and leads to a number of positive side effects, such as the lower need for artificial cooling, covered parking spaces and protected terrace areas, which are achieved through the structural shading of the ground floor. The overall design approach can be characterized by great clarity. Of course, as our own product, the focus should be on the wood processed and the diverse ways in which it can be used. In many prominent places, wood was specifically used that normally would not have been as visible wooden elements, due to visual defects such as knot holes, rotten spots or visible worm damage. The reason for this was not only the sustainability aspect, but also the belief, that this wood in particular gives the building an additional liveliness and down-to-earth charm. The fact that sawn timber was primarily used from suppliers who had previously been supplied by us is another part of identity architecture. All companies and craft businesses involved are regional, which not only avoids long journeys but also supports the local economy. The future and economic viability also had to be carefully thought through and calculated. For a sustainable energy concept, the decision was made to combine the company’s own photovoltaic system (70.000 kWh/p.a.) on the roof and an air-water heat pump operated by it. This supplies both underfloor heating and cooling panels within the house, which got installed instead of a conventional air conditioning system. Thanks to modern insulation and the avoidance of unnecessary room temperature fluctuations, this model is particularly resource-saving and therefore both economically smart and climate-friendly. Ecological, economic and social demands were brought into harmony here.
The new building has a total area of 825 m² with 10 rooms on the ground floor and 12 rooms on the upper floor on a total property area of 2995 m². Spruce wood was used for the beam. The solid structural wood for this comes from Germany and partly from Austria. Almost 400 cubic meters of timber were used in the shell; in total, the new building holds 500 cubic meters, which leads to the storage of around 500 tons of CO². Approximately 230 m² of windows on the building were made of highly insulating triple glazing in wood-aluminum construction and made of solid, natural European oak wood, which on the outside is clad with weather-protecting aluminum. The high incidence of light through floor-to-ceiling windows and the open room concept promote a positive working atmosphere and the visible glass surfaces harmoniously complement the materiality of the wood. Large parts of the facade are paneled with larch wood. In order to protect it from moisture and sunlight, the upper floor and the flat roof protrude far beyond the building’s footprint. Electrically controlled external blind systems were installed as additional sun protection, which can control the light and heat input into the building. The heating and cooling of the rooms, as well as the control of the sun protection system on the windows, is controlled via Smart Home. The system also ensures automated operation of the lighting devices. Art installed everywhere in and around the building in the form of paintings, prints and sculptures further refines the object and anyone who enters our new office building in Kastorf cannot help but notice the special attention to detail and the associated care towards the colleagues who work there to perceive.
We are proud that, as this year’s award winner, we are able to set an example for future-oriented commercial construction.