Lufthansa Aviation Center Frankfurt
Transparency, communication, and cosmopolitanism
With its transparency, the new Lufthansa head office conveys the open-mindedness and cosmopolitanism of one of the best-known German companies. It is not by accident that the design by ingenhoven architects has received numerous awards, including the 2008 RIBA award, the International Architecture Award of the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design, and an EU GreenBuilding partnership certificate. With its uncompromising ecological construction and elegant office design, the Düsseldorf architectural practice has found a solution for this building that matches the importance of Lufthansa.
The main challenge of the project was to create a high-quality and communicative office and working environment while, at the same time, isolating the building from its busy surroundings. Owing to the proximity of Frankfurt Airport, the company’s most important transport hub, the Lufthansa head office is ideally connected in terms of transport, but is exposed to significant noise and emissions pollution. In response to these conditions, the architects designed a 180 meter long and 90 meter wide building which, in its layout, is reminiscent of a double-sided comb with ten teeth. The offices are protected from ambient noise by gardens between the respective teeth. The offices and eight gardens are covered by elegant concrete and glass roofs.
All 1,850 office workplaces enjoy a view to the landscaped gardens and have the benefit of natural ventilation. The landscape design of these open spaces represents typical landscapes from the five continents. They symbolize the global reach of Lufthansa—from a white sandy beach to the Australian outback and a Japanese Zen garden. The gardens are freely accessible and can be used by staff to relax during breaks, or for small meetings. In addition, these outdoor spaces serve as heat and sound buffers and improve the microclimate.
Overall, the property comprises seven floors above ground and four below ground. The floors below ground accommodate plant rooms and underground parking garages, whereas the offices are located on the floors above ground. In order to create a pleasant working environment that supports communication, there are bright and fully glazed offices as well as glazed atriums between the office tracts. All offices have been arranged to face the atriums. To suit various requirements, the offices are designed in modular units that can be adapted according to need.
A central concourse is formed by the five- or six-story office wings, which gives staff the opportunity for informal encounters and meetings. The communication requirements that are typical of modern office work are met with 36 open meeting rooms, seven large conference facilities, and smaller meeting areas within the offices. Each floor has three dedicated meeting points as alternative working environments and places for informal communication. With its easy reversibility and absence of a hierarchical order, the flexible office structure creates inspiring and team-oriented working conditions.
The ecological building concept favors a healthy working environment. The wooden windows and floors make for a warm atmosphere. By omitting suspended ceilings, it was possible to use the concrete decks to activate thermal mass. Any malfunction of the air-conditioning system is corrected by a sophisticated control system.
Located in the midst of one of the most efficient transport intersections in Europe, the new Lufthansa headquarters impresses with its simplicity, clarity, and uniqueness.