Exactly four years after the start of construction, the new cube-shaped Axel Springer Building in Berlin has been officially opened. Designed by OMA, the building offers 52,000 square meters (559,723 sqf) of workspace for more than 3,000 employees and is characterized by its open and transparent architecture. Straddling the former border, the 45-meter high, light-flooded atrium divides the building into sections in a perpetual encounter with each other across the space. In the space between, the terraced ten stories and 13 bridges create connections between the sections and provide inspiration for physical encounters in the digital age.
“Paradoxically, the current pandemic and concurrent digital acceleration, demonstrate the need for spaces conceived for human beings to interact,” says Rem Koolhaas, architect and founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). “In the typical office building, a visitor enters, and then disappears.. It is far from clear what happens inside. In the new Axel Springer building, people and their interaction, are the essence. The Springer building is a tool for the further development of a company in perpetual motion. It offers its users a physical base – a wide variety of spatial conditions, intimate to monumental – in contrast to the flatness of working in virtual space.”
“We wanted the new building to be a symbol and an accelerator of our own transformation,” says Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE. “Long before the coronavirus, the mission was to find a new answer to the question of why office space is still needed at all in the digital age. Rem Koolhaas has provided a spectacular reply. Open, multifunction spaces that enable maximum flexibility of use. Avant-garde architecture as a magnet for encounters and communication. The building as a powerhouse of creativity.”
The new occupants have now almost all moved in and the first units have been working there since early 2020. The tenants include the shopping and comparison platform idealo, the editorial offices of WELT Print and WELT Digital, WELT TV, Media Impact and various central departments of Axel Springer. In spite of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, the building was completed on time and on budget.