Merck Modular Building
With the strategic initiative ONE Global Headquarters, Merck is continuing the development of its main site in Darmstadt into a global company headquarters. The masterplan for the company site envisages a new, central square on the Frankfurter Straße, around which the factory premises of Merck - a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials - are grouped. Flanked by two existing buildings, the future Innovation Centre on Emanuel-Merck-Platz is currently under construction. The two-storey Modular Innovation Centre with a floor space of 4,000 m² was erected just opposite, on the eastern edge of the square. Until the future Innovation Centre is completed in 2017, the modular building’s working areas will serve the needs of changing interdisciplinary research teams and includes a visitors´ restaurant with connected conference rooms.
From 2018 onwards the building will be used as a visitor centre.The building consists of individual modules, grouped around an inner courtyard, some of which are staggered, some are stacked. A low, set-back plinth raises the building off the ground and creates the impression that it is floating. The façade grid emphasizes the joints and the modular construction of the individual prefabricated steel elements. Window bands extending from floor to ceiling provide views onto the spacious square and the internal courtyard. A number of Merck innovations are being put to use and tested on the building. The reddish louvres, which provide protection against the sun on the southern sides of the building, consist of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) and produce enough electrical power for a one-person household. The western façade includes a frontage with smart Liquid Crystal Windows (LCWs) designed by Merck. The molecules in the high-tech coating of the windows act as microscopic venetian blinds. The windows can be darkened at the press of a button to protect the conference rooms from daylight, without any adverse effects on the view out to the square. The use of technologies such as dye-sensitized solar cells and smart Liquid Crystal Windows make the modular building a pioneering project for the innovations of tomorrow.