Studio Alexander Fehre – Herzzone, for a new sense of belonging

How do you connect remote and on-site employees in a work space and strengthen their sense of belonging and identity within a company? With “Herzzone”, Studio Alexander Fehre found a solution that brings Roche Diagnostics’ employees together in an inspiring, hybrid space on their Ludwigsburg site.

Instead of the usual architectural demand, the pharmaceutical company Roche Diagnostics turned to Studio Alexander Fehre with a more emotional and conceptual request: the desire for a space that creates a stronger bond between all employees and give them a sense of identity within their workplace. Studio Alexander Fehre translated the client’s appeal into Herzzone (“heart zone”), the new beating heart of the company’s architectural body.

Apart from being located in the same large production hall and passing through the same entrance door, the administration and production departments of the Roche Diagnostic branch in Ludwigsburg did not have a lot of opportunities for close encounters before the creation of Herzzone. To further encourage community, the company wanted a shared communal area that provides employees with a hybrid space for exchange and connection in addition to the existing main offices. To strengthen the employees’ sense of belonging to each other and to the company, something had to change. An identity-creating anchor point was needed where the different departments could come together, locate themselves emotionally and connect to the actual site.

Based on these ideas, a concept for a house within a house was developed. Creating an architecture within an existing structure was a way to integrate naturally into the enormous existing production hall. The new space consists of four wooden houses built in traditional timber construction. Each of the houses not only provides a bright and natural contrast to the industrial surroundings, but also introduces its own function into the space. While some of the houses can be fully enclosed and used as a work or meeting space, the more open spaces are perfect for larger team events or corporate parties. Two of the houses have additional levels that are connected to each other via a footbridge, from where the production hall can be overlooked and that creates interesting visual relationships within the Herzzone. The individual wooden houses not only aptly react to and utilise the building height of seven metres, but also function as a filter zone between production and administration.

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