KÄRCHER VISITOR CENTER

For the extension of its historic headquarters, the Kärcher company acquireda 130.000 m2 former brickworks site, located just next to its headquarters,the two being separated by a rail line. In an effort to preserve the past of the site, the chimney of the former brickwork was retained and integratedinto the project. A new pedestrian bridge over the railway lines connects the historic Kärcher premises with the new square and buildings.

The architect suggested that the new space be distributed over three buildings, each one having a specific function: office spaces for 700 employees, a visitor and customer centre, and an auditorium for 800 people. The outdoor space between the three buildings creates a beautiful square, where employees and customers can exchange, and that can be used for trade fairs. The brick walls were kept as a reference to the former brickworks, but also to create a contrast with the fully glazed office building and auditorium.

The site has a rainwater retention basin with a capacity of 220m3. Woodchipheating with an output of 850 KW provides the buildings with energy. About 160 tonnes of old pallets can be processed in the pallet chipper per year and fed into the heating system. This covers about 40% of the total heatingenergy requirement. The large hall is heated by radiant ceiling panels; the rest of the building is equipped with underfloor heating / cooling systems.The roof areas are covered with different types of sedums.

Outside, a biotope with two ponds was created, one of which can be used as an extinguishing water pond. Local animals and plants are to be settled here.

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