Sustainable, Digital, Innovative: The New Headquarters For Drees & Sommer

Drees & Sommer headquarters OWP12, © Jürgen Pollak

Drees & Sommer has set a milestone with the construction of its new headquarters at Obere Waldplätze 12 (OWP12) on the Drees & Sommer Campus in Stuttgart, Germany. The building exemplifies the company’s commitment to sustainable, digital, and innovative operations. The OWP12 cube, measuring 20 meters wide and 70 meters long, stands as a monolithic structure adjacent to the A831 motorway just outside Stuttgart (Germany), capturing attention with its striking design.

Embodying the cradle to cradle principle

The OWP12 goes beyond contemporary planning and construction methods, it aligns with the cradle-to cradle principle, a concept, developed by German chemist Michael Braungart and US architect William McDonough. This approach seeks to eliminate waste and maximize the utilization of recycled materials for subsequent construction projects at the end of a property’s life cycle. In stark contrast to the conventional “cradle to grave” model, “cradle to cradle” emphasizes a regenerative and sustainable lifecycle.

Within the construction industry, this principle necessitates developers to envision the eventual demolition even as they embark on building construction. In essence, the goal is dual-fold: to minimize waste and efficiently repurpose materials for new construction projects at the conclusion of a property’s life cycle. Achieving this objective requires all utilized materials to be easily separable by type, de-constructable, and recyclable without introducing pollutants.

BIM for sustainability and prefabrication

A key enabler in realizing the OWP12 project was Building Information Modelling (BIM). This digital planning tool seamlessly integrated all relevant data of the construction project into a single model, facilitating efficient coordination among architects, engineers, and other stakeholders. Notably, the building materials used were meticulously documented in a material passport on the base layer of the BIM model. This passport, crucial not only during construction but also for subsequent demolition and recycling efforts, outlines in detail the materials incorporated in the structure.

Philip Poss, project manager and BIM expert at Drees & Sommer, highlights the significance, stating, “A BIM model in this quality visualizes exactly which modules with which materials were used at which locations in the building. This digital memory is therefore also the basis for more sustainability.”

Digital planning also enabled a high degree of prefabrication for the modular façade, contributing to time- and cost-efficient series modular construction.

The building envelope – a mini power station

The facade of OWP12 combines high-end thermal insulation with soundproofing and consists of innovative, sustainable materials in multiple, highly insulating layers. OWP12 is designed to generate more energy than it consumes during operation. Energy is generated via geothermal and air heat pumps as well as photovoltaic elements on the roof – integrated into façade and glazing elements.

Building-integrated photovoltaics

Building-integrated photovoltaics generate around 70 megawatt hours of energy per year on around 700 square metres of façade surface on the south and west sides of the building. In the OWP 12 project, the PV elements had 32 different formats, allowing them to adapt to various window arrangements as well as edge and corner areas while following architectural form perfectly. The design objective was to integrate photovoltaics into the façade as a design element without dictating appearance – an objective successfully achieved.

The OWP12 stands as a compelling example of how BIM is driving sustainability within the construction industry. Drees & Sommer is thus setting standards for the future of the property sector. The partner-led company with 60 locations and 5000 employees worldwide has been established in Luxembourg for 20 years and has a steadily growing team of currently more than 100 employees.

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