HeidelbergCement Headquarters

The Covid-19 pandemic has blocked many plans for 2020 – but not the completion of the works on our new headquarters. After three years of construction, the building was ready for us to move in, just as we had planned. The current situation did not allow us to host a big opening celebration.

Instead, we moved in rather quietly, although we would have had every reason to celebrate: the new headquarters is a spectacular replacement for the old building, which had been standing at the exact same place since 1963. The building marks a new era for the company, not just visually but also technically: it is a sample project for sustainability and demonstrates what concrete is capable of nowadays, technically and aesthetically.

'Platinum' by the DGNB for the new building aimed

From the outset, we aimed at the highest standard awarded by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) – the 'Platinum' standard. And in fact, the new headquarters have a lot to offer when it comes to climate friendliness: about 1,000 square metres of the roof’s surface are equipped with photovoltaic panels. The base load of heating and cooling is provided by renewable energies – which, in this case, means that heat and cold are drawn from the groundwater via a specially drilled well. Moreover, there are 28 charging units for electric cars and 190 covered parking spots for bicycles, of which about 100 have an electric charging connection.

With the interior construction, a major challenge was the measurement and control technology since the building is equipped with the newest systems. The systems not only comprise heating and cooling/air conditioning, but also shading and light control, which depend on the position of the sun and the time of day. Coordinating the construction works was far from easy as well: the building stands in the heart of Heidelberg on a busy street near the Neckar River. Up to 450 construction workers from different professions worked here simultaneously.

The white outer frame made of precast concrete is an architectural highlight that catches the eye and shows the great versatility of concrete. The curved lines not only dominate the building but also its surroundings. For the white frame elements, the photocatalytic cement TioCem was used – a product that contains titanium dioxide to filter pollutants from the air. The aim is to significantly reduce the NOx content in the air around the new building, which stands on a busy street. The concrete paving outside the building is also made of TioCem and was supplied by our subsidiary Lithonplus.

The new headquarters consists of three separate building sections with different heights, which are connected to each other and have a landscaped inner courtyard each. The 200.000 cubic metres of enclosed space in total enable flexible floor plans for different requirements. At ground level, the building offers a large conference zone with numerous conference rooms, social rooms, the cafeteria with a commercial kitchen, and a modern staff area with a parent-child office as well as a multifunctional sports facility. Fully equipped tea kitchens and different meeting areas on every level top off the facilities. Besides open-plan workstations, there are classical office rooms for one or two people.

Employees helped shape their workstations

Prior to construction, employees had the possibility to take part in planning the design of their future workstations. Modern furniture with height adjustable desks is a standard in every office. All interiors are light-filled and transparent. Windows can be opened in every room and employees can adjust the room temperatures individually. Another major feature in times of Covid-19: every office has separate ventilation to the outside.

The main entrance leads to a three-storey atrium with various exposed concrete features. For the atrium, a self-compacting fine concrete with the highest class SB4 was used for the partly filigree and highly reinforced elements like columns, walls and the three spectacular "tree columns" located freely in the room.

These columns get their name from their tree-like design and their static function as “roots”. Along with their colouring, they have another special technical feature: the formwork was filled from below and the concrete was pressed up to a height of 11 m. 

It is apparent that this building is not just any office building but the headquarters of a globally leading building materials company. The only solid load-bearing surfaces inside are the columns and stairwells. The building opens up to its surroundings thanks to the transparent glass façade. Certain areas like the spacious atrium, the cafeteria and the “Magistralen” – recreation areas connecting the different sections – are visually accessible from the outside. This special transparency creates a vivid appearance, establishes relationships with the surrounding public spaces and fosters the interaction with the urban environment.

Construction of the new HeidelbergCement headquarters in the timeline

Construction of the new HeidelbergCement headquarters in the timeline

Project Data

  • HeidelbergCement

    Owner

  • AS+P Albert Speer + Partner GmbH

    Architect

  • 32,000 cubic metres ready-mixed concrete

    Material

  • 2020

    Completion

  • DGNB Platinum standard (German Sustainable Building Council)

    Additional facts

Location

HeidelbergCement Headquarter Berliner Straße 6
69120 Heidelberg (Germany)

HeidelbergCement - atrium of the new headquarters.

Open-plan workstations in the new headquarters.

Cafeteria in the new headquarters.

HeidelbergCement - front of the new headquarters.

Courtyard in the new headquarters.

Front of the new headquarters.

Magistrale in the new headquarters.