Photo © HGEsch
Photo © HGEsch
Photo © HGEsch
Photo © HGEsch
Photo © HGEsch
Photo © HGEsch
Photo © HGEsch
Photo © HGEsch
Photo © HGEsch
Photo © HGEsch
Site plan
Drawing © HENN
Ground floor plan
Drawing © HENN
Cross section
Drawing © HENN

Merck Innovation Center

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Frankfurter Straße 250, 64293 Darmstadt
Merck KGaA
Area GFA
21 950 m²
Bollinger + Grohmann Ingenieure (Structural engineering), ZWP Ingenieur-AG (MEP), Müller-BBM (Building physics), KFE – Kucharzak Fassaden Engineering (Facade planning), Lumen³ (Lighting design), Topotek 1 (Landscape architecture)
MIPIM Award 2019 (Finalist Best Office & Business Development), European Concrete Award 2018 (Honorable Mention)

Merck’s site in Darmstadt is progressively remodelled from a production works into a technology and science campus. The heart of this transformation is the Innovation Center with a new world of work. A dynamic spatial continuum singularises the individual workplaces whilst connecting them to form a spatial network.

The building is set back facing Frankfurter Straße, thus generating the space for a public square – Emanuel Merck Platz. The orthogonal shape of the architectural volume is derived from the context of the neighbouring buildings, simultaneously acting as a contrast to the animation of the building’s inner workings. The interior is characterised by the unfolding of a continuously flowing spatial structure. Bridge-like connections diagonally span the space between the oval cores, linking the individual workspaces with each other. Steps, ramps and floor areas spiral upwards. The routes between one work group and another, from one level to the next, are accomplished almost imperceptibly and effortlessly.

The inter-crossing bridges, which densify the centre point of the building and diminish the spatial height of 6 metres to 3 metres, appear to float. The strain of the loads is absorbed by supports along the facade and a mere four interior columns. Due to their highly polished stainless steel coverings, the columns have a practically dematerialized presence.

Every level has two work areas, positioned diagonally vis-à-vis one another. Each workspace is designed to provide for a project group consisting of external and internal staff, cooperating together on innovations either on a temporary or a project basis. Concentration and meeting rooms are arranged along the facade and on the mezzanines. The ground floor contains a café, a lounge and an auditorium; the first upper storey a library and open workstations; the top floor accommodates a workshop.

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