The C&P Corporate Headquarters by INNOCAD was designed for a real estate company in Graz, Austria. As the neighborhood transitions from an industrial area, the building’s cube-like shape acts as a new landmark.
URBAN, ARCHITECTURE & INTERIOR CONCEPT
The project’s main ambition was to create an authentic example of built identity within the context of a seven-story building, incorporating the client’s logo icon throughout the building elevation. The project’s name, CUBEND, translates firm values by unifying the words “cube,” relating to wholeness and persistence, and “bend,” standing for movement and dynamics. The building’s surface visibly reveals the interaction between people and spaces, becoming a contrast to the sealed industrial structures of the surroundings. In other words, this energy-efficient, activity-based, and identity-enhancing building reveals visibly on its surface the interaction between people, space, and technology.
Ph. © Paul Ott
Organized as a cube and divided by a curved atrium across all floors, the building consists of a glass-dominated core within a floating concrete structure. The white concrete outer grid integrates an automatic sun shading system that adjusts with building usage, time, seasons, and surroundings. The façade’s second part, a porch-like area, serves as a transition space between indoors and outdoors. A third, transparent layer allows natural light access to fragmented office space formations around an elongated atrium. This multilayered system includes different structural and functional elements for its users as well energy-efficient solutions for the building.
One of the main challenges of planning the space was meeting the multiple requirements, foyer, customer area with an apartment mock up, meeting rooms, open workspaces, creative spaces, and a social area for the employees or corporate events and lectures, in 2465 square meters organized over seven floors. Thus, the layout of the space was optimized in a rectangular grid around the atrium, connecting all floors as a vertical communication interface.
A central building core includes a staircase and elevator, as well as all building technologies, and distributes those outwards to the office space through a mesh-like suspended ceiling. This new ceiling system, which meets the spatial, aesthetic, and acoustic demands, was developed and customized for the building. With the aim to create an inspiring and healthy workplace by harmonizing the physical, virtual, and social world of work, biophilic aspects were implemented in the interior and exterior concept, including plants, rooftop-terrace, porches, and the buildings foreyard.
SUSTAINABILITY & MATERIALS
C&P Corporate Headquarters’ entire energy demand is reduced through a well-conceived architectural typology. Overall, the precise cubical building volume minimizes heat and cooling effort through its compactness. The atrium enables a natural cross ventilation throughout all levels, where warm exhaust air is drawn upwards and replaced by cool, fresh air from below (summer night cooling). In spite of the building’s depth, the curved atrium’s glass roof allows natural light to access all levels, thus minimizing the need for artificial lighting. Even so, the whole building is equipped with an energy efficient LED lighting system.
The constructive sun shading and circulating porches with a two-meter cantilever protect against direct sunlight in the summer months when the sun is at its highest. However, the room-high glazing achieves solar energy gains from the low sun in the winter. The automated sun shading screens, mounted on the concrete grid, form a closed, air-conditioning buffer for the two-meter glass façade behind. The sunscreen is controlled by sensors and reacts automatically to the position of the sun, and can be temporarily overridden and individualized if necessary. The preserved old and high broadleaf tree population functions as a natural shading system on the building’s sun-exposed south side in the summer.
The headquarters’ entire demand for energy, needed for heating and cooling, is covered by renewable energy. The generation of energy for heating and cooling is based on geothermal energy use from groundwater by way of a heat exchanger and/or a heat pump. After passing through the heat pump or the heat exchanger, the groundwater is returned via a sump well. The heating and cooling of the space works through three carriable, energy-efficient systems. First, the baseload is covered through thermal concrete core activation (cooling and heating coils in the concrete ceiling). Second, a ventilation system with heat recovery preconditions the incoming fresh air. Third, the peak load coverage is carried out on cooling units.
Ph. © Paul Ott
Furniture is partially made from recyclable materials, and cradle-to-cradle products were used. During construction, care was taken to ensure that all raw materials (few composited materials) used could be separated and recycled again when the building was dismantled. A very low percentage of petroleum-based products were used for the building’s insulation, given the glass façade is the biggest part of the building’s outer shell, and for the most part, mineral insulation was used when needed.
DATE: 2016-2017 / LOCATION: Graz, Austria / AREA: 2000 m2 (built) / PROGRAM: Office Building / STATUS: Built / DESIGN: INNOCAD / PROJECT TEAM: Patrick Handler, Jörg Kindermann, Martin Lesjak, Elisabeth Krammer, Dominik Gladik / CLIENT: C&P Immobilien AG / PHOTOS: Paul Ott