Trend-setting office architecture: Trend-setting office architecture: SOLON SE Headquarters is Best Office 2010
"Solon has catapulted the world of office work into a new dimension," said Prof. Ralf Bruder, head of the Darmstadt University of Technology Institute of Ergonomics and member of the jury, explaining the decision. "They did this by taking the brave step of creating an environment for the new administration, production and research headquarters that both promotes well-being and harmonizes with nature. It also serves as a test laboratory for advances in solar and battery storage technology."
In this way, SOLON has created a building with communication and flexibility as defining elements. The workstations are distributed over four largely open floors. The few partitions are made of glass. Employees converse in kitchen units, sitting areas and at bar tables, and new ideas are developed. Mobile electrical storage systems - the so-called e-shuttles - and the comprehensive wireless LAN system allow work in variable teams, in quiet areas like bubble chairs and specially created alcoves, or on the green roof.
The energy concept is also unique: The SOLON headquarters uses only one-fourth the energy of a comparable building. Timber, glass and steel are the defining materials for the ensemble housing production and administration, with its downwardly sweeping green roof and curved silhouette. Integrated in the facade are external solar shading devices, triple-glazed high insulation windows, heaters and acoustic elements. On the accessible roof, a photovoltaic system with a 210 kWp output generates electricity. A number of courtyards maximize natural lighting. Water pipes have been integrated in the concrete ceilings to provide energy-saving heating and cooling - so-called concrete core activation. Staff members are able to control the ventilation, heating and lighting themselves. Intelligent, computer-based building technology monitors consumption.
The Best Office Award, presented this year for the fourth time, primarily rewards those brave companies that have implemented forward-looking office designs, but also recognizes the individuals who made it happen. The Berlin architect Heinrich Schulte-Frohlinde designed the exceptional SOLON headquarters, and the interior designer Sandra Pauquet and the decorator Isabelle Baudry created the unique atmosphere. Prof. Norbert Fisch from the Institute of Building Services and Energy Design at the Technical University of Braunschweig developed the energy design. The company Younicos conceived the e-shuttles.
"As global players in the extremely dynamic renewable energy industry, we want to demonstrate that it is possible to live the future today," declared Stefan Säuberlich, CEO of SOLON SE. "This is achieved by actually using available, innovative technologies, unifying energy efficiency and modern working." In this way, the company is setting a sign for a resource-conserving, modern and flexible workplace. As one of the largest European solar energy companies, SOLON sees itself as particularly committed to the principles of sustainable production and contributes to climate protection not just with its products but already during their production.
The SOLON headquarters will be recognized as the nationally outstanding building. The winner in the International category is the Austrian steel producer Voestalpine Stahl in Linz.
SOLON SE is one of the largest manufacturers of solar modules in Europe as well as a supplier of solar system technology for large-scale rooftop and greenfield installations. The SOLON Group has subsidiaries in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and the U.S. and employs some 900 people worldwide. SOLON's core business is producing solar modules and photovoltaic systems along with planning and constructing large rooftop installations and turnkey solar power plants all over the world.