Kiln engineering shop
Rebuilding of an industrial hall, Hanau
An old industrial building from 1910 was rebuilt by the Frankfurt architect Christoph Mäckler into a new corporate headquarters for the precious metals trading company dmc©. It was the architect's idea to use the existing building instead of constructing a new one (which was intended to be temporary). What is special about this rebuilding project is how the exterior shell and the existing structural elements were handled: The shell of the building was kept almost untouched. Its new use is almost undetectable from the outside. The old facade is only broken by some new casement windows; the entrance is marked by a beaked canopy.
Inside, the first third of the old hall has been left empty, and serves as a foyer. The new construction begins only a third of the way in: Individual office cubicles are supported by a seven-metre high platform on asymmetrical piers which are shaped according to the flow of force. These give the impression of containers which have been set down temporarily; an impression reinforced by the climate control systems which are visible on top. More offices and conference rooms are housed on two storeys in the lower side wings of the hall. An single-flight stairway leads from the foyer, which can be used for events and exhibitions, to the combined-use area on the platform. At the owner's request the old hall was left uninsulated, meaning that the individual office cubicles have to have their own climate control. Fresh air is provided by deep casement windows which penetrate the old facade. In contrast to the industrial character of the old kiln engineering shop, the office spaces are ultra-modern, elegant and painstakingly planned and constructed.
New construction inside of an existing building always requires particularly careful planning of the building services. This is especially true when, as in this case, the original floor can only be disturbed at selected points due to contaminated slag. As a result, the necessary climate control systems have been installed in plain view above the office cubicles, and the new electric cables are also routed visibly in an organised manner along the old walls.
The interiors of the office spaces have been kept white and simple. Downlights are built into the airy new ceilings over the offices. The architect has developed a wall lamp which is impressive for the lightness of its design. This lamp throws indirect light into the room, light which streams through the filigree glass fronts into the central area between the offices.
This concept of clarity and elegant restraint is also reflected in the design of the switches and socket outlets. The Berker product series used, "1930", is notable for its timeless appearance, well-suited to both the old industrial hall and the new office spaces. Here the black version was used, creating a pleasant contrast with the white walls of the office cubicles.