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SCHOTT solutions no. 1/2010 > Architecture

As part of the modernization of its corporate headquarters in Mainz, the SCHOTT technology group added a new structure made of glass to its 45-year-old administrative building. Many different SCHOTT glasses are being put to use here. The flat roof of the atrium, for instance, is made of semi-transparent thin-film photovoltaic modules from SCHOTT Solar.
Photo: SCHOTT/A. Stephan

A New Face

The modernized SCHOTT corporate headquarters in Mainz combines aesthetics with functionality and sustainability.

Judith Schwarz

A3,500 square meter glass façade is now a real eye-catcher at the new main office of the SCHOTT technology group. The 45-year-old administrative building at the company’s main headquarters in Mainz, Germany, was renovated and expanded over a 15-month period and then officially inaugurated this past December.

”Our intention was to create a representative corporate headquarters that focuses on glass as the main building material in modern transparent architecture,” explains Frank Bollmann, head of real estate management at SCHOTT. ”With respect to the interior design as well, we placed special importance on transparency and designing open, modern offices.” Yet another objective was to bundle the key corporate functions like ­marketing, public relations, sales and market development, strategy, legal and controlling, that used to be based in different locations on the main plant grounds in order to reduce walking distances and improve communications.
Photo: SCHOTT/A. Stephan
The Frankfurt-based architectural firm JSK Architects was responsible for coordinating the renovation work. Four different approaches that each included cost-benefit analyses were presented as part of a feasibility study. The Board of Management of SCHOTT AG decided in favor of complete renovation of the existing four-storey building, including the addition of two new storeys as light-weight constructions. Furthermore, a six-storey addition that consists of an atrium that extends across all of the floors and serves as the main entrance area, but can also be used for product presentation and communication purposes, was added. “The idea of integrating the existing building into the new construction work proved to be quite convincing. The entire complex has thus been given a visible upgrade, both inside and out. This not only documents what SCHOTT AG has stood for in the past and will continue to stand for in the future, the company’s own products were put to use to support sustainability and design the outside impression of the building, as well as its interior. You really can’t build and advertise for yourself any better than this,” says Dipl.-Ing. Joachim Lepper, the architect responsible for planning the building.

The expansion of the office complex has resulted in an increase in the gross floor space of around 5,000 square meters to 12,000 square meters. SCHOTT had the new glass façade of the atrium area glazed up to a height of three meters with Amiran® a special-purpose glass with an anti-reflective coating on both sides. Thanks to its low level of reflection, this architectural glass appears to be almost invisible and brings a lot of light into the building. It also gives visitors an undisturbed view of the atrium all the way to the reception area even while standing outside. Solar protection glazing was then installed up above it.
Photo: SCHOTT/A. Stephan
The ecological component was given top priority with respect to planning. For instance, 300 square meters of semi-transparent ASI® Thru thin-film photovoltaic modules from SCHOTT Solar form the flat roof of the atrium. They cover a share of the electrical power needs, yet allow sunlight to pass through. In addition, they offer protection against thermal overheating as a result of direct sunlight. The water that comes from the plant’s own groundwater well is yet another environmentally friendly aspect. It flows through the floor of the atrium and thus helps regulate the climate inside the building in a way that saves energy.

In addition to the atrium, the building complex consists of a reception area, spacious team zones, individual offices and conference rooms. The blue tinted flat glass Imera® used for the foyer, the elevator area and the conference zone serves as a room partition and sets accents as a design element. In addition, ”LightPoints”, invisible light diodes that have been integrated into glass, produce fascinating effects in the glass doors.
The LEDs inside ”LightPoints” are supplied with power by an invisible electrically conductive layer. Photo: SCHOTT/A. Stephan

SCHOTT also placed a great deal of emphasis on working ergonomics and the latest data on work organization, including allowing for the maximum amount of daylight possible, with respect to how the offices were designed. The number of individual offices was kept low and spacious team working areas that encourage communication were erected instead. Furthermore, the acoustics were optimized to include furniture surfaces that absorb sound to suit the open design of the building. The offices offer enough space for around 400 workplaces.

”This building is now the new face of the SCHOTT tech­nology group,” explains Prof. Dr.-Ing. Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of the Board of Management of SCHOTT AG. ”It appeals to our customers who come to visit the company, as well as the many people who pass by each day on foot, by car, by streetcar or by train,” he adds.
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