Südwestmetall Reutlingen

by | 13. Aug 2012

Feature | Offices

Photo courtesy Allmann Sattler Wappner


The building, planned as a training center and regional office for Südwestmetall, the metalworking and electrical manufacturing organization in the state of Baden-Württemberg, is located in Oststadt in an area with a mixture of domestic housing, offices and small industry.

The area is characterized by a large number of old half-timbered buildings, mostly stuccoed or with revealed brick or stone walling. Typical design features are saddle roofs and a front length of up to fifteen meters.


Photo courtesy Allmann Sattler Wappner

The three saddle roof buildings fit into the scale and typology of the surroundings but  any association with “a town house with garden” is prevented by the unusual surface materials; stainless steel facade and cast steel latticework at the base and in the garden area. A protected inner courtyard, used as a private terrace, is located at the backs of the individual buildings.  Multipurpose areas, each with its own usage, separate the buildings.


Photo courtesy Allmann Sattler Wappner


The idea of the design was to adapt the volumes of the building to the commonly known building typologies of the surrounding historical buildings and at the same time to transform the viewers perception to create an new and unknown identity. The differently worked stainless steel skin which covers the whole site and the facades is associated with the functions of the client
/Allmann Sattler Wappner

Ornamental metal trellis work, laid on the ground, surrounds the buildings and is continued up the walls to a height of three meters. This transparent ornamental metal trellis work defines the boundary between the public space and the private areas of Südwestmetall.

This creates an open, inviting atmosphere towards the street. A dense network of trees, growing out of the trellis level, creates the “garden” association and brings together the public ground floor and open areas with their treetops, which begin above the ground floor area.


Photo courtesy Allmann Sattler Wappner 


Photo courtesy Allmann Sattler Wappner

The differing perception of the base and of the smooth, treated stainless steel of the faade emphasizes the versatility of the material. The sunshade elements are treated as excerpts of the stainless steel faade, the same material, and remain constantly visible from within as individually controllable elements.

Opening the sunshade elements during the daytime and closing them when the building is not in use emphasizes the homogeneous character of the ensemble. The uniform appearance of the building is also determined by a clear hierarchy between centrally controlled sunshade elements and an integrated, individually controlled daylight regulation for the user.


Photo courtesy Allmann Sattler Wappner  

In the reception area the space is surrounded by the ornamental metal trellis work, which can be touched from outside. The three meter  high base defined by the ornamental metal trellis work emphasizes the high value stainless steel faade, which at this level (set off by the base) cannot be touched.


Photo courtesy Allmann Sattler Wappner



Photo courtesy Allmann Sattler Wappner


On the ground floor are the public oriented functions of the buildings; entrance, reception hall, and the ramps to the underground garage. The ground floor areas are characterized by the generous sized rooms, the pillar less freedom and the transparency of the entire faade, filtered by the ornamental metal trellis work.


Photo courtesy Allmann Sattler Wappner


The facade is designed as a double skin facade . The inner skin is fully glazed with a thermal glass frame facade which allows the users to open the panels, from floor to ceiling, individually. The outer skin is constructed of 4 mm stainless steel sheaths blasted with ceramic pearls which are fixed on stainless steel frames. The frames are then hung on the under construction or building structure. The stainless steel sheaths are joined without expansion joints to achieve a picture of an uninterrupted continuous building volume.

The above mentioned surface of the stainless steel sheets reflects the colors and the light of the surroundings. The building is in a permanent change of colors. The daylight control and solar protection is achieved though automated motorized window shutters. The shutters are constructed of the same stainless steel sheaths as the rest of the facade. These are perforated in different grades according to the requirements for view and daylight. When opened, the shutters disappear into the intermediate space between inner and outer skin. When closed the shutters are flush with the outer skin in order to achieve the undisturbed picture of a closed building volume.


CITY Baden-Württemberg