Digital publishing powerhouse Axel Springer officially has gotten another addition to its Berlin campus, a full office block designed by OMA that resembles a cross between its recently completed Galleria mall in Gwanggyo, South Korea, and Amazon’s Seattle Spheres.
The recently completed building spans a whopping 655,455 square feet above ground and another 158,563 square feet underground, a massive addition to the extant Axel Springer campus, across from the company’s headquarters. The project’s most striking feature, immediately readable from the ground, is a bulging, angular glass “river” framed in white spandrels that bisects and sharply contrasts with the rectangular, black building above and below it. This atrium opens up towards the other Axel Springer buildings across the campus, and OMA writes that their intention was to design “a building to lure the elite of (Germany’s) digital Bohemia.”
Inside, OMA has arranged a series of terraced open offices that cascade downwards towards a central rift, again cutting the interior in half between darker and lighter-hued sections. In the project description, OMA described this as a “digital valley,” the topography of which was flipped and mirrored to form the widening rift across the facade. The final effect creates a soaring, atrium-like space right down the heart of the building, letting in plenty of natural light. The inspiration supposedly came from the widening (but also inextricably linked) gap between the physical and digital publishing realms, a duality and tension that OMA and AMO similarly explored in their Spring/Summer 2021 Prada womenswear show last month, but on a much larger, architecturally ambitious scale. The two internal hemispheres are connected by a series of walkways.
That includes one of the public amenities, the highly reflective (and conspicuous) “meeting bridge,” an observation platform that cuts right through the void so that visitors can take in the view; one of the main objectives in laying out the interior was putting the journalistic process on full display. The ground floor, containing the lobby, restaurants, events spaces, studios, and exhibitions spaces, has also been given over to the public. The rooftop bar, sited on a planted and paved terrace, will also be open to everyone.
Construction took four years, and Axel Springer has released a mini-documentary about the building, available on its website alongside pictures of the opening ceremony.