The SAP location in Walldorf is growing. To accommodate the increasing workplace requirements, the software producer launched an architecture competition, which SCOPE Architekten won with their innovative overall concept.
The future-oriented design reflects the collaborative idea of the modern working world. Split-level storeys create openness and transparency within the new building and encourage both “horizontal and vertical“ communication in a team-based corporate structure.
Urban development context
Located on Dietmar-Hopp-Allee, the building consisting of two structures connected by a bridge creates space for up to 700 employees on around 16,000 square metres. Thanks to the clear-cut shape of the building it blends perfectly into the urban setting, although the head-end Building A along Dietmar-Hopp-Allee deliberately protrudes from the urban planning alignment of the neighbouring buildings, thus accentuating the centre of the areal that this has created. The particularly long Building B is divided up by functionally necessary recesses in the facade, underlining the harmonious interplay of the two structures. Moreover, the lines drawn by the facade design of circumferential balustrades lends the building an elegant lightness.
The way the buildings are located on the construction field creates open spaces with differentiated uses. These invite the user to pause for a while and also reinforce the campus character of the areal. The work café on the ground floor with its outdoor seating and the adjacent design thinking areas bring the urban diversity of the site to life.
This not only places an architectonic accent in the areal; at the same time, it creates functional aesthetics guided by SAP’s philosophy and the dependency of the building. Never arbitrary, but always incisive and identity-forming.
A staircase as metaphor of built communication
Both structures were realised as reinforced concrete skeletons with solid staircase cores. The ground plan of Building A evolves around a freestanding fair faced concrete core and the working areas on the mezzanine floors wind their way up three-dimensionally.
On the ground floor, the building is entered via a large foyer with reception area and showroom. The lower area with the design thinking and project rooms is reached via a half-storey flight of stairs.
The generous staircase that extends from the ground floor up to the upper floor symbolises a functional link between work processes and work flows.
Communication made tangible: café areas and collaborative zones are arranged along the staircase, and it is also from here that the split level open space areas can be reached. The internal team meeting zones with integrated boxes for micro meetings and think tanks cater to the functional requirements of the modern working world.
As a connection between the mezzanine working levels, the staircase also supplements the working spaces on each floor. In this extended space, integrated seating on the broad steps invites employees to rest for a while, to work alone or with others.
The open spaces not only support creativity and communication, but also the regeneration and concentration of the employees. Chance encounters and ad-hoc meetings are encouraged by the inviting design.
The generously sized roof terrace is another example of the collaboration idea and serves as meeting point and event space. At the same time, it becomes a showcase within eyeshot of the headquarters of SAP opposite.
Building B follows the aesthetics of Building A. The underlying concept is derived from the programmatic diversity of SAP’s work flows so that within the flexible ground plan all forms of work are possible—individual office, shared office and open space. Three atriums supply the various levels in the central zone with daylight. Thanks to the open design with a large proportion of glass, the bright and airy rooms make an inviting impression. The graphic art element on the glass surface of the atrium in the café area creates an optical highlight, which extends over several storeys.
1. wp_office – Flomo – whiteboard system
2. BuzziSpace – acoustic felt – BuzziSkin
3. Plexwood – Wooden parquet
4. Object Carpet - carpet
5. Prolicht - oficce lighting
6. Drum - Glas partition
7. Arco, Hay, Wagner Living - furniture