High-end design with a fabulous view: The new offices of the ANH Hausbesitz GmbH & Co. KG in Berlin are in an extraordinary shaped building named The Terrace, which combines an outstanding colour and design concept with communal spaces and smart services. The spacious outdoor areas and an interplay of colours, materials and reflections undergo a surprising transformation according to the light, the season and the perspective, all merging to make the workplace a lively and engaging place to be.
The Terrace rounds off the prominent group of buildings forming the ANH business quarter in Berlin-Charlottenburg on the banks of the River Spree. The developers and operators themselves are going to occupy two of the seven storeys in this terraced structure, distinctive for its exposed concrete, glass and galvanised steel mesh exterior, with a direct view to the water. And with a future-proofed work environment providing a perfect combination of sharing and meeting, digital and design.
By designating certain areas as quiet zones and offering other zones where there is more going on, employees can choose where to work according to their task and working style: focus boxes, a library, and open-plan areas with stand-up workstations attract those who want to concentrate – either secluded and alone, or uninterrupted but still among colleagues. Meeting and teamworking rooms are always available for intensive discussions and client appointments. Day-to-day tasks are carried out at base workspaces using a work bench or an ergonomically designed desk. Anyone wishing to make an undisturbed phone call can retreat to one of the voice-controlled telephone niches.
“The focus has to be on the user if you want to create a genuine place to be.”
Design Leader, Drees & Sommer
Encounters and information exchange happen at the marketplace. It is a hub where people can chance upon each other, a place to eat, to sit together, and one that can act as a forum or even a stage. Or it can be simply a place to sit back for a while and look around. Even corridors become shared spaces with a function and added value: a circular table, conveniently placed between a work area and the library or passed on the way from lunch to a meeting, can be a convenient stop-off for a spontaneous chat or a coincidental encounter. What used to be merely a transit route has now gained in value as a space with communication potential. The quality of every square metre is increased.
A special core design element has been used for the building’s interior: alcove walls – perfectly dimensioned, with high-quality details, custom-made for ANH. The materials used for them have different haptic properties, appearances and colour schemes, providing plenty of variety: the focus boxes and meeting rooms are enclosed in black-tinted, reflecting glass walls, whereas the zoning walls are fashioned out of anodised aluminium in shades of silver.
The alcove walls contrast greatly with the raw concrete ceilings and terrazzo floors because they are fitted out with much finer, smoother surfaces – in glossy colours or polished, mirrored, reflective. The idea being that the reflections draw the green of the outdoors into the interior, flooding the inside space with added colour accents and energy. The boundaries between the inside and the outside blend into one another, giving the office a completely different feel depending on the weather, season and perspective. A broad palette emerges from the interplay between direct and indirect colour, ranging from dark green to rosé, from solid to fleeting. Like a shimmer on the water in the summer, never tangible but always warm, positive, graceful.
“What’s particularly interesting is the reaction between the colours. It’s something unpredictable, poetic – it has a hint of the Riviera about it.”
Creative Director, Drees & Sommer
„And the best evidence that nobody is only black and white.“
Senior Designer, Drees & Sommer
The sides of the alcove walls facing the open-space work areas contain cubby holes, expertly handcrafted according to our specifications. These superbly built, interlocking metal walls are a further element providing a contrast to the raw architecture of the building. While the cubby-hole side casts a matte natural silver across the workstations, the reverse, mirrored side creates reflections and indirect colour effects. A clever feature: between the walls of the work area there are two hidden telephone niches, greeting users with a subtle, Mediterranean shade of pink.
Drees & Sommer also managed the digitalisation concept of The Terrace. The ANH office has achieved with this integral feature of a true smart building all its requirements for a digital work environment – it received full marks (100 points out of 100) and was awarded platinum level as part of its SmartScore certification. And the result really is smart: the central control unit is equipped with AI technology, acting as the “brain” which thinks along with the user and is continuously adding to its knowledge. It can connect technical equipment and sensors as well as planning, usage and operations data, and it is capable of independently optimising the systems running the building. This helps to save energy and conserve resources.
The Terrace’s navigation system is also a digitally intelligent one. Users access all the functions they need via the building’s customised app: doors are opened via smartphone and according to entry rights; workstations, meeting rooms, carpark spaces and electric car charging stations can be reserved with a simple tap on the display. Even the room heating, lighting and blinds are controlled using the app. All of this is protected by state-of-the-art safety standards and a sophisticated cyber security concept.
New Work in the new offices of ANH Hausbesitz means more movement, more community, more colour, more space for needs-specific working. A work and home base has been created here where creativity and replenishment can take place. It is a lively and simultaneously stable place which again and again will provide new facets and perspectives. In one of the most intelligent buildings in the world.
Our new work design approach hasn’t only convinced ANH. The trio of smart services, collaborative community zones and our striking colour and design concept has also achieved international recognition. The jury of the prestigious Callwey architecture awards named the new ANH offices one of the 50 Best Workspaces 2023. And in the German Design Award category of “Excellent Architecture – Interior Architecture”, they received a Special Mention for superb quality of design. Two prizes for one fundamental principle: Health-promoting work environments need to contribute to the wellbeing of their users. Which is precisely what makes the ANH offices “Excellent”.
ANH Hausbesitz GmbH & Co. KG
Interior Workplace Design LPH1-7
Creative Design Lead
Concept draft, management and execution of the Digitalisation Concept
Assistance with the WiredScore and SmartScore certifications
Project duration 2021-2022
GFA: 830 sqm