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© Laurian Ghinitoiu, Courtesy OMA.


Status: Completed  Client: Axel Springer SE  Location: Berlin Site: Zimmerstrasse Client: Axel Springer OMA Partner: Rem Koolhaas, Chris van Duijn OMA Associate Structure, MEP, Façade, Sustainability: Arup London Microclimate: RWDI Acoustics: Kahle Acoustics Cost: ARGE SMV Bauprojektsteuerung & Emproc GmbH Fire & Life Safety: Peter Stanek Renderings: OMA, Robota Model Photographs: Frans Parthesius Project Management:SMV Bauprojektsteuerung Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH Cost Management: Emproc GmbH MEP: ZWP Ingenieur-AG Façade: Emmer Pfenninger Partner AG Landscape: Inside Outside Structural Engineering: Arup London Elevators: Lerch & Bates Energy/Comfort: Transsolar Energietechnik GmbH Building Physics: knp.Bauphysik GmbH Acoustics: Kahle Acoustics Geotechnical: GuD Geotechnik und Dynamik Consult GmbH Lighting: les éclaireurs Interior Design Orientation System: Büro Uebele Curtain design: Inside Outside Contractors Main contractor: Ed. Züblin AG Façade contractor: Dobler-Metallbau, GIG Fassaden Furniture: Unifor, Lensvelt


Axel Springer has launched a move from print to digital media. Its new building on the campus in Berlin acts both as a symbol and a tool in this transition - a building to lure the elite of (Germany’s) digital Bohemia. Bisected by a diagonal atrium that opens up to the existing Axel Springer buildings, the essence of the design is a series of terraced floors that together form a ‘valley’ that creates an informal stage at the centre - a place to broadcast ideas to other parts of the company.

The genius of print is that it is a cheap, physical, hyper-accessible embodiment of a complex collective effort, for which so far the digital has been unable to find an equivalent. Architectural offices are similar to newspapers in that they produce complex assemblies and selections from radically different sources of information.

As architects, we have experienced the advantages: speed, precision, smoothness. But we have also suffered one crucial consequence: the relationship between the worker and his computer, which isolates him in a bubble of introverted performance, inaccessible to collective overview.

In the classical newsroom, dominated by smoking, typing journalists, each inhabitant was aware of the labour and progress of his colleagues and of the collective aim: a single issue, with the deadline as a simultaneous release. In the digital office, staring intently at a screen dampens all other forms of attention and therefore undermines the collective intelligence necessary for true innovation.