The new Zalando Headquarters is designed as an ensemble of two new buildings that form the heart of the corporate campus in Berlin-Friedrichshain. The project’s two seven-storey buildings provide some 42,000 m² of office space. Up to 2,700 employees will work here for Europe’s largest online supplier of shoes and fashion goods. Instead of the company’s various departments being spread out in annexes all over the city, they will now be brought together in a new location in the immediate vicinity of the Mercedes Benz Arena.
With a striking design that will project the company’s corporate identity in the cityscape, HENN emerged as the winner in an invited competition. The building’s shape in plan reinterprets the typical Berlin block-edge development. It rotates the building grid diagonally to the development plan and places the internal courtyards on the outer edges of the plots. This opening creates transitions between office and public space. Further views into and out of the building are ensured by the combination of transparent and translucent facades that express the diversity of the company to the world outside. The vertical atrium in the main building opens into a space extending to the full height of the building and directs daylight down to the public areas on the ground floor.
The central lobby is flanked by a bank of steps with seating and lounge areas, which can also be used for exhibitions and similar events. The auditorium and the conference and training zones connect to a café and the company restaurant. The spatial organisation of the office with separate zones for work requiring intensive concentration and interaction on the above-ground floors specifically focuses on providing for the changing requirements of the employees and differentiated use options. Special areas for social interaction with integrated kitchens are grouped around the atrium. Open stairways shorten the routes between these common areas on individual floors. The work zones can be flexibly reconfigured for changing team sizes. The main areas for project work are placed centrally in “neighbourhoods”. From this interactive core, the working atmosphere of the other use areas gradually changes to peaceful concentration and withdrawal zones to suit everyone. “Catwalks” connect the individual neighbourhoods, allowing space for informal meetings and strengthening the multidisciplinary character of the working day at Zalando.