A new office building designed by United Architektur in Cottbus, Germany was inaugurated in the autumn of 2021. The start-up incubator and co-working space was created to promote innovation and creativity in order to generate new forms of work benefitting the citizenry of Cottbus and the surrounding area.
The selected site is an area adjacent to the Brandenburg Institute of Technology (BTU) campus, and the intention is to create a pole of technological interest for start-ups in this part of the city. In response to demand for creative new workspaces combining innovation with technology, the architects have come up with a project in which colour and a number of characteristic elements play an essential role. The choice of building materials and methods and the technological systems adopted are all based on a sustainable approach reflecting Germany’s official policy of progressive de-carbonisation for a future-proof construction.
The building has a hybrid structure of wood, concrete and steel, experimenting with new sustainable techniques and materials on its façade.
The building’s public function as a shared workspace is reflected in walls made primarily of clear glass. The screening required for offices and other workspaces is provided by perforated fabric panels fixed to metal frames covering the façade. These colourful semi-transparent screens give the building a dynamic look appropriate for its function as a start-up incubator.
On the ground floor, the transparency creates immediate visual continuity between the activities underway in the building and the nearby public plaza. This dilation of the indoor space toward the outside and the public plaza is reinforced by the fabric screens required to provide shade for the offices, which extend out of the volume toward the sidewalk and the street. The ground floor is occupied primarily by the entrance foyer and workshops. The foyer is a multifunctional space serving not only as an entrance hall providing access to the upper levels but as a public area containing a coffee shop and lounge. The foyer can also be transformed into a space for hosting informal events and presentations, either for an audience outside the building, opening up the façade and placing seats outside, under the extended marquees, or for an indoor audience, using the steps to the workshops as seating. The co-working area is on the first floor, while other types of office, complete with partition walls and furnishings, are arranged on various levels of the building, along with formal meeting rooms. The backbone of the first and second floors contains small meeting rooms, common service areas and lounges. There is a big conference room with an adjacent terrace on the roof. The interior design is inspired by an aesthetic of transparency, with only a few simple furnishings. Colour plays a key role in identifying spaces open to the public and contributing to the overall image of this creative workspace.
Images courtesy of United Architektur
Project - Start-up Incubator and Co-working Space
Location – Cottbus, Brandenburg, Germany
Year – 2021
Client - GWC (Gebäudewirtschaft Cottbus)
Architecture - United Architektur https://www.unitedarchitektur.com/
Design Architects - Prof. Bernd Huckriede, Dr. Jens Brinkmann, Ludwig Heimbach,
Planning in collaboration with CGG (Cottbuser Gesellschaft für Gebäudeerneuerung und Stadtentwicklung.)
Photographs – United Architektur / Kay Fingerle Fotografie