LOOKING UP IN GELSENKIRCHEN.
LOOK UP is an up-and-coming international advertising company based in Gelsenkirchen, a small ex-industrial town near Essen in western Germany. The company was anxious to make its new headquarters both a good place to work in and a memorable and powerful symbol of the young firm.
After much searching, the architects found a site on former mining land which is being redeveloped as an industrial estate by the local authority -- which is reported to have been very helpful in creating the building. As LOOK UP's building was only the second on the site, the planners were keen to set a high standard, and the architects have responded with a crisp, neat block.
It has three floors. The two upper ones are called 'creativity zones', and also contain conference facilities and administration. The bottom floor is for production. The creativity zones are open, transparent working areas separated by frameless glass with only the lavatories and kitchen made as enclosed elements. Concrete balconies offer access to the open air (and smoking), and provide a secondary emergency escape route.
The most dramatic feature of the building is the comb-like brise-soleil on the south face to protect the smooth glass box from the sun's heat.
We were all impressed by the crispness and clarity of the detailing, and the essential simplicity of the ideas. But we were not entirely sure that the two buildings implied by the design -- the opaque concrete one, and the transparent glass one -- were entirely successfully married. The comb side is very well done, but the west elevation was much more clumsy.
ANIN JEROMIN FITILIDIS & PARTNER
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|Title Annotation:||Look Up headquarters in Gelsenkirche, Germany|
|Publication:||The Architectural Review|
|Date:||Dec 1, 1999|
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