new laces adidas hq by kadawittfeldarchitektur
Designed by Aachen-based practice Kadawittfeldarchitektur, the new Adidas HQ in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach is known as the 'Laces' building Photography by Werner Huthmacher, Berlin
Adidas wanted a normal office building but they also wanted a creative space. The solution was to reinvent the architectural plan, giving offices views and making the circulation space occupy a vast covered atrium
'The atrium was 5,000 sq m of space that wasn't in the original brief, but we persuaded them,' says Kadawittfeldarchitektur's project partner Dirk Zweering, adding that 'it's how our office works. We always look for an opportunity to add another element.'
The Adidas HQ is given a dynamic twist by the ribbon-like bridges that criss-cross its atrium, making direct connections between departments and drastically cutting down the time it takes to get around the building
Spanning distances of up to 50m, the zig-zag forms of the slender walkways resemble laces, hence the name of the building. Not only do they minimise walking, the laces also 'tie' the building together, says project partner Dirk Zweering
Rather than relying on off-the-shelf kit, Adidas commissioned Kinzo, a small Berlin-based design firm, to create a set of bespoke office furniture for the complex
The offices are equipped with a specially developed workstation dubbed the 'Teamplayer' - a desk, shelving and storage system that picks up on the rigorous architecture and marks out each department without detracting from the flow of space
Kinzo's brief didn't stop at workstations, but had to extend to the very particular requirements of the Adidas design team. The result is 'Workout', a modular system that extends to storage for the company's more uncommon objects like shoes and balls
The interior facades looking into the atrium are all glass. 'When you enter the atrium you don't really read the façade,' explains project partner Dirk Zweering. 'This is because we didn't need vertical supports as there was no need for thermal glass, with it being an interior wall.'
'We offered this kind of ring structure,' explains Dirk Zweering, 'so that every department can look out onto the surrounding area.'
The atrium's spaciousness is enhanced by the roof, constructed from ETFE cushion panels. Using standard 4m wide panels, with lengths varying between 35 and 50m, the lightweight material is supported by a series of slender arches that span the whole space
Meeting spaces and a cafeteria are scattered along an internal street on the ground floor, places where the 1700-strong workforce can relax and eat
The most function-intensive areas, including the model workshops, materials laboratories and Test Hall (with its specially calibrated running tracks) required very specific furnishings
The Laces building is a corporate campus with heart, reminiscent of the grand schemes of forward-thinking 1960s multinationals, rather than the off-the-shelf timidity that has come to characterise so many contemporary HQs
The Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach is the sporting footwear capital of the world, thanks to the corporate presence of both Adidas and Puma. The two firms were founded by the Dassler brothers in the post-war era, following the break-up of their family company
The building is close to the company's Brand Centre and the Adi Dassler Sports Ground, illustrating the extent to which the company dominates this small town
The roof is constructed from ETFE cushion panels, as used in Herzog & de Meuron's Allianz Arena