Innovative working environment at the DGNB Platinum-certified Alnatura Campus

With its new corporate headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, Alnatura, the expanding organic products company, has set new standards in contemporary corporate culture and sustainability. The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) has awarded the new headquarters its highest distinction: a Platinum rating.

Troldtekt acoustic ceilings in school buildings
Photo: Dipl.-Ing Olaf Wiechers

Across an impressive 55,000 m2 in total, in the south-western part of the city of Darmstadt, the company has created an innovative campus as a site for recreation, learning and interaction. The campus also features an integrated Waldorf kindergarten, a vegetarian restaurant, organic shop and adventure terrain and exemplified an employee-friendly and customer-friendly work culture.

The three-storey office building, designed to house about 420 of the 3,000 employees of ‘Germany’s best employer’, is truly unique. The new working environment features a captivating simplicity and natural aesthetics and meets the most stringent demands in regard to organic and sustainable materials. Dr Christine Lemaitre, Managing Director of DGNB, explains that the DGNB certification of the campus is based on the fact ‘that Alnatura, with this new working environment, has created a future-oriented, high-quality building. Its focus is equally on the environment and people as well as on long-term economic efficiency.’

With a net surface area of 13,500 m2, the complex, designed by the Stuttgart architects haascookzemmrich Studio 2050, Europe’s largest office building features an outer facade made of clay. Another unique feature is the world’s first geothermal wall heating installed in the building. A subterranean duct circulates well-tempered air from the adjacent forest, and electricity is generated from a large photovoltaics system on the roof.

Thanks to the wooden roof structure with intermittent large window panes and the transparent front facades, all levels of the buildings bask in daylight. Stairs, bridges and walkways create connections and emphasise the open, spacious character of the building. Slanted roof sections envelope the inner courtyard without limiting the space. Thanks to the use of renewable energies paired with structural measures, the energy consumption of the nearly carbon-neutral building is about one-third below the requirements of the current Germany energy-efficiency regulation (ENEV).

Meeting areas can be partitioned off as needed using soundproofing curtains. In addition, open-plan kitchenettes are located on all levels, which can used by the cross-functional teams as meeting and discussion areas.

Optimal acoustics are ensured by the sound dampening ceiling made of wooden lamellas, wooden window frames and the micro-perforated cladding of the core wall. In addition, high-quality Troldtekt acoustic panels were used in the restaurant area. They are made of the materials wood and cement and contribute to a healthy indoor climate and effective fire protection.