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Type: Headquarters, Office

Size: 122,500 sq ft / 11,380 sq m

Height: 4 floors

Status: Completed 2002

Collaborators: Werner Sobek, Matthias Schuler

Recognition: AIA National Honor Award; AIA Chicago Chapter Award

Commissioned through an invited international competition, the thoughtfully detailed Bayer headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, utilizes a semi-elliptical form to engage the park to the south and orient views toward the natural landscape.

In our approach to the building’s design, we made significant progress toward a building envelope that mimics the highly adaptive capacity of a biological skin, mediating between the exterior and desired interior conditions. Fully glazed outer and inner shells establish a protected interstitial space that enables natural ventilation and shading. Fresh air moves from the wall cavity into the interior spaces through operable windows and a special detail at the slab edge. The raised floor contains a convector which conditions the fresh air as it enters the space. This innovative design approach reduces building operating costs by 60% compared to a conventional system.

Atop the building, its roof is covered in a cellular panel system developed at the IIT Campus Center project, which acts as both roof insulation and an acoustic barrier. Additionally, it accommodates apertures for local ventilation and fritted glass cells for daylighting with minimal solar gain.

The glass and steel pergola reinforces the streetwall and urban context while announcing the entrance to the building.

The minimal glass-enclosed lobby is the mitigating space between the pergola and the building itself, forming a strong relationship with the formal facade of the Pallas Versicherung across the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Allee.

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