Firm Designs Crystal Rock-Style Facade


Esslingen, Germany, will be home to a new mixed-use office building with an aesthetic twist: The exterior will feature a distinct “crystal rock” facade and a hollowed-out, pixelated core.

Designed by Netherlands-based architecture firm MVRDV, the structure known as The Milestone will become both a public amenity for the city and an eye-catching new landmark.

Building Design

Slated to be 70,000 square feet and 12 stories tall, The Milestone was inspired by both the city’s past and future. This factors into the design through the use of QR codes in the fritted glass facade, which informs visitors about the city’s people, landscape and history. According to MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas, this essentially makes the building an interactive library available to everyone. The information gained from the QR codes is rendered in a pixelated map on the lower part of the building, stretching to over 130 feet in height.

The building’s facade is composed of fritted glass to reduce overheating. PV cells are also used to store and generate energy. With these sustainability features in place, there is the potential for the building to become partially self-sufficient in the future, noted the architects.

The facade’s transparency facilitates two-way interactions by reflecting meetings occurring outside while the interior is also visible. At night, the building becomes illuminated.

The structure will feature both an open plaza and an open walkway that punctures through the building’s heart. Around this, the building’s facade is pushed inward, fragmented and functionally becoming a grotto, accessible through stairways.

Upper levels also contain flexible office spaces, while those on the ground level will house public amenities such as meeting spaces, a cafe and a restaurant.

“This building shows Esslingen to all people who pass by on trains and will become a new symbol to reflect its past heritage and future,” said Maas.

Construction is slated to begin in 2020.


Tagged categories: Color + Design; Design; Design build; Europe; Office Buildings; Urban Planning

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