LEOBEN (AT) - Timber producers feel more or less obliged to build their head offices and factories in wood. Such buildings are, after all, the company's 'visiting card' and offer an ideal opportunity to experiment with new techniques and products.
The Austrian wood processing company Mayr-Melnhof wanted a showcase along these lines and commissioned Nussmüller Architects to design an innovative structure using the company's timber products. Now you could say that a timber office building is in itself innovative given that most offices are constructed in glass, steel and concrete. But the architects saw their task primarily as showcasing the properties one would not normally associate with wood.
For example, the building seems to float. Two 80-metre-long, timber-clad volumes rest on a timber construction of M+M-shaped supports (the company logo). A glass structure containing the entrance and reception connects the two volumes. The contrast between this transparent space and the closed character of the timber volumes housing the offices is a theme that recurs in the interior. In the execution of the floors, internal walls and furnishings there are constant contrasts between glass and wood, light and heavy, light and dark. One thing is clear: wood is no longer synonymous with 'cosy' and 'warm' but can be just as easily be combined with functionality and very taut detailing.
The only positive quality of wood that is not readily apparent is the cost efficiency and short construction time, which allowed this building to be completed in a mere ten months. (Kirsten Hannema)
Facade, Interior, Wood |