The new Building was inaugurated with a celebration and the inaugural speeches by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, architect Rem Koolhaas and Mathias Döpfner CEO of Axel Springer, the largest digital publishing house in Europe with numerous multimedia news brands, such as Bild, Die Welt, and Fakt and more than 15,000 employees. In fact, the company has recently launched a move from print to digital media and this new building in Berlin acts both as a symbol and a tool in this transition.
Exactly four years after the start of construction, the new cube-shaped building is the latest addition to the Axel-Springer Campus, the ensemble of different premises at the media and technology company’s headquarters.
Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE: “We wanted the new building to be a symbol and an accelerator of our own transformation. Long before the coronavirus, the mission was to find a new answer to the question of why office space is still needed at all in the digital age. Rem Koolhaas has provided a spectacular reply. Open, multifunction spaces that enable maximum flexibility of use. Avant-garde architecture as a magnet for encounters and communication. The building as a powerhouse of creativity.”
The new Axel Springer building offers 52,000 square meters of work space for more than 3,000 employees and is characterized by its open, transparent architecture.
Bisected by a 45-meter high, light-flooded diagonal atrium that opens up to the existing Springer buildings, the essence of the design is a series of terraced floors that together form a ‘valley’ that creates an informal stage at the centre – a place to broadcast ideas to other parts of the company.
13 bridges create connections between the sections and provide inspiration for physical encounters in the digital age.
Rem Koolhaas, architect and founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA): “Paradoxically, the current pandemic and concurrent digital acceleration, demonstrate the need for spaces conceived for human beings to interact. In the typical office building, a visitor enters, and then disappears.. It is far from clear what happens inside. In the new Axel Springer building, people and their interaction, are the essence. The Springer building is a tool for the further development of a company in perpetual motion. It offers its users a physical base – a wide variety of spatial conditions, intimate to monumental – in contrast to the flatness of working in virtual space.”
Each floor contains a covered part as a traditional work environment, which is then uncovered on the terraces. Halfway through the building, the valley is mirrored to generate a three dimensional canopy.
The common space formed by the interconnected terraces offers an alternative to the formal office space in the solid part of the building, allowing for an unprecedented expansion of the vocabulary of workspaces: a building that can absorb all the question marks of the digital future.
Axel Springer concept model by OMA
The public can experience the building on three levels – ground floor lobby, meeting bridge, and roof-top bar. The meeting bridge is a viewing platform from which the visitors can witness the daily functioning of the company and how it evolves. The ground floor is open to the city and contains studios, event and exhibition spaces, canteens and restaurants.
The new occupants have now almost all moved in and the first units have been working there since early 2020. The tenants include the shopping and comparison platform idealo, the editorial offices of WELT Print and WELT Digital, WELT TV, Media Impact and various central departments of Axel Springer.
Photography: Laurian Ghinitoiu | Courtesy: OMA