The Schwalbe Hybrid Building is located in Reichshof, Germany. The Schwalbe headquarters interior building project covers an area of approximately 2,200 square meters. The construction took place during the pandemic and took three years from conception to completion. Schwalbe – A leading manufacturer of bicycle tires, the success of his Schwalbe is due to uncompromising quality, continuous innovation, new technology and the drive towards greener production.
The project was born in tandem with the ambitious goal of rethinking the company’s approach to working conditions and building responsible buildings for the future. Schwalbe’s hybrid architecture is one of the few examples that demonstrates the cradle-to-cradle design principles used in industrial architecture today. His 98% of the materials in the project are recyclable, and concrete and steel are also his 100% recyclable. The building will generate over 60,000 kWh of electricity per year, with highly energy-efficient air heat pumps heating the entire building via ceiling sails, heating and cooling autonomously. Considering that the area receives heavy rainfall on a regular basis, rainwater is collected and used to irrigate the rooftop garden and wall greenery, and to supply water to toilets throughout the building, thereby reducing water usage.
The architectural outline was to provide inspiring and innovative spaces for work and recreation, in keeping with the company’s corporate philosophy of putting environmental and social responsibility at its core. The goal of the architects was to express in space the values Schwalbe upholds and the passion for cycling of all the people behind Schwalbe. A key method in their approach has been to primarily use natural, recycled and recyclable materials that are in Schwalbe’s DNA. The Schwalbe brand is known for the durability of its products. Similarly, Archiproba believes in flexible and timeless design, and the only trends respected are quality and sustainability.
The new building has three floors and includes a reception area, bicycle workshop, Brand World, marketing and technical departments, a lecture and workshop hall, a connecting bridge and a roof garden with fresh fruit and vegetables used in the dining room. Additional work areas are provided for key departments such as test labs and customer service. Responding to the demand for open-plan solutions, architects sought to extend the concept of ‘hybrid’ to spatial design and working environments. Each area of the building has multiple functions and can be used for personal or collaborative work, meetings and events. Drywall was replaced with glass where possible to bring light and air into the space.
Thus, patrons of this sprawling building feel more connected and visitors get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Schwalbe’s various departments. On the ground floor he has two main entrances, one from the formal reception and the other from the bike workshop. The reception area is dominated by voluminous custom rubberwood walls reminiscent of bicycle tire patterns. In contrast to the brightness typical of the reception zone, warm and minimal lighting by Peter Zumthor – Candela Di Vals is used to create a calm and peaceful atmosphere.
The bike workshop is designed like an extension of the street and welcomes cycling enthusiasts to pass by. Durable road tiles, recycled rubber on the walls, stainless steel and dynamic lettering are the main features of this space. At the first level, customer service is a distinct, minimal environment where functionality is prioritized. The architects intentionally revealed industrial elements and tools to represent the beauty of the work in progress and the valuable role of this department in the company’s daily operations. The rubberwood of the tabletop and his C2C certified rubber flooring are both able to withstand any job. Translucent U-glass was chosen to demarcate the office areas and create meeting rooms. This eco-glass is ready for smart building and he is one of the most sustainable building products available today.
The furniture chosen for the office is mostly ‘cradle to cradle’ certified products or iconic designs that last. Light wood floors and a variety of leafy lounges create a friendly and comfortable environment for work and relaxation. The client’s special interest was in the bridge connecting the old and new buildings. We abolished the bridge as a mere passageway and proposed a layout that included an activity space. The bridge became a “community room” where employees from both buildings could meet along the way to play a game of table tennis or host casual meetings. The full glass sides of the bridge let in more sunlight and provide an additional outdoor setting during your lunch break. For faster access, you can cross the bridge on a scooter.