Bringing Environmental & Social Value

UNStudio’s office design concept breaks new sustainable ground - both technically and architecturally.

UNStudio’s office design concept breaks new sustainable ground

Fact File
Program: Office and Podium with public functions
Client: Groß & Partner
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Building surface: Approx. 43.500 m2 – 45.000 m2
Building volume: Approx. 187.000 m3
Building site: 3.215 m2
Status: Competition – 1st Prize
Renderings: MOARE

UNStudio’s office design concept breaks new sustainable ground

The office tower will offer great added value to its surroundings, not only in terms of design, but also climatically, ecologically, and socially. Alongside intensive greening throughout, DGNB Platinum Certified NION employs a low-carbon load-bearing structure. Prefabricated components will be used in construction, alongside a modular supporting structure. The design further focuses on the use of sustainable, recyclable, and circular construction materials. Spatial efficiency and future-proofing are achieved through the use of flexible floor plans.

The project incorporates ESG objectives and highly efficient, resource-saving technology. The sustainable concept further responds intelligently to the weather and actual demand. It incorporates a photovoltaic facade, rainwater management, geothermal heating, and cooling (30%-40% cooling / 70% heating), smart building management, demand-based air conditioning and LED lighting, energy recuperating elevators, e-charging stations with intelligent load management, and green and open work environments. Solar gain is minimised by way of a 50% closed facade.

Also designed to be socially sustainable, specific programming encourages, communication, gathering and knowledge sharing. Additionally, semi-public use is incorporated by way of a bakery and a café, and the inclusion of partially public urban space in front of the base building.

UNStudio’s office design concept breaks new sustainable ground

Intensive greening
Alongside passive design strategies and building technology, greening plays a large role in the design. As an integral part of the Europa-Allee urban green corridor, the site is intended to be a vehicle for greenery and biodiversity, bringing ecological benefits to the environment, while improving the microclimate and contributing to the well-being of visitors and users of the building. To this end, UNStudio collaborated with OKRA landscape architects in optimising the design as integral part of Frankfurt’s green network.

The structure consists of two intersecting volumes, where the northwest and southeast corners are cut away to create a striking vertical effect, emphasised by lush greenery. The cubature responds to the proximity of surrounding buildings and to NION’s prominent position next to the park, by way of angled facade surfaces that contrast dynamically with the cut-out corners. These cut-outs taper from the 7-storey base building, picking up the lines of the surrounding perimeter block development and unifying the different urban scales. The vertical intersection of the inner corner on the northwest side also divides the building into tower and podium, giving the building a more slender appearance. While the green corners of the building create a striking focal point, the wide facade elevations are structured by light and dark elements to create differentiation within the volume.

UNStudio’s office design concept breaks new sustainable ground

While the vertical green in the external articulation anchors NION within the cityscape, further greening plays an important role throughout the project. From the green lobby, to the semi-public interior space in the base, to the green zones in the office floors, which are combined with green terraces and roof gardens - all the spaces are designed to enhance the working climate and create an exciting relationship between interior and exterior.

UNStudio’s design proposal for NION, a 45,000 m2 state-of-the-art office tower in the Europaviertel in Frankfurt, was recently selected by Groß & Partner for further development. NION will be one of the most sustainable office buildings in Germany.