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0D

Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014 

Near Munich; Urban Design

Siemens AG Headquarters, by James Sterling 1969

 

Culminating to the time when James Stirling incubated the Siemens AG Headquarter competition in 1969, the era was fascinated with the freedom open spaces offer. Much of its influence came from Le Corbusier’s Ville Contemporaine and Leon Krier’s Bielefeld University. This urban design included three typologies for open spaces: the Tree-lined Valley, Social Valley, and interior voids. The Tree-lined Valley is the most intimate of the three spaces. It is modeled after the French Boulevard. The space brings a romantic and quiet quality using Water Gardens, vegetations, urban furniture, and long colonnades. The Social Valley is an amphitheater inspired by its Roman precedent. However, the drama it excites goes beyond the small footprint; one can argue its primary objective isn’t function but aesthetics. The low profile of the valley forms a set back, creating a dramatic foreground for the Headquarters. This is similar to the visual effects of reflective ponds fronting an iconic building. Within Siemen’s AG Headquarters, social spaces are populated as voids. They serve as a giver of light, vision, volumetric comfort, and future infill expansions.

 

This “city within a city” complex is dedicated to computer research and operation. Open spaces act as relievers for its inhabitants, similar to a cooling fan work to chill a central processing unit. Anthony Vidler describes it best, this project is a “Machine in the Garden”.)

 

[Click Images Below]

Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Plan (1969 Original)

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Design Axioms

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

(From Top to Bottom) Circulation, Modularity, Program, Parcelization

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Program

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Typology (1969 Original)

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Rachet: 200% FAR

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Rachet: 50% FAR

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Rachet: 200% Open Spaces

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Rachet: 50% Open Spaces

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Growth: adding new Live and play - residential and recreation

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

1969 Original

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Rachet: 200% FAR

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PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN

1.     A “city within a city” motopia where people are stratified from automobiles*

2.     A “city within a city” that is independently equipped with services and resources

 

a) a clear network of circulation*

b) vegetated social amenities at various location & elevations*

1.     Location can vary, but the site development strategy is tabula rasa - “blank slate” *

2.     Design capacitates external* & internal expansions

3.     Built forms to have geometric purity, symmetry, and formal hierarchy that respects the human scale

 

 

 

THE SHORTFALLS of Siemen’s Headquarter AG coincide with the failures of the then concurrent Metabolism movement. Like many of the proposed Metabolistic utopias, it does not realistically address the economy of scale. While the designs have “plug-in” and phasing mechanisms that reduce the size and cost per unit, the infrastructure and site development of the megastructure is still colossal. Perhaps those Architects are aware of this fault, and many of these masterplans are left generically without a site; but one mistake leads to the next. The non-specific foreign character of these plans doesn’t relate to any culture, time, or space. Even with a site, the tabula rasa “blank slate” site development strategy isn’t a sensitive stroke. Thirdly, the challenge to create a better “City within the City” also presents a fundamental predicament. Motopias like Siemen’s Headquarter AG hopes to (re)create natural environment for people, but nature isn’t designed. - that’s the predicament. These are all likely factors to why this competition entry never came into fruition.

Summary of failure factors:

 

1.     Economy of scale

2.     Lack of site specificity

3.     The built-nature predicament 

 

 

Presentation Panels

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Panel 1

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Panel 2

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Panel 3

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Panel 4

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Panel 5

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Panel 6

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Panel 7

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Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014
Case Study: Siemen's AG HQ, 2014

Panel 8

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