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Newbuild for lab technology producer Agilent in Waldbronn

High-tech location with innovative textile façade

(PresseBox) (Bielefeld, ) In Waldbronn, near Karlsruhe, Californian life sciences company Agilent has expanded its existing company site by adding a modern customer and technology centre. Designed to look like a pavilion and opened by means of large glass façades, the newbuild integrates office and development work spaces across three floors for around 450 employees. General contractor Vollack accentuated the innovative character of the design with the Schüco FACID textile façade, which frames all the glass areas in bright white.

Global laboratory technology producer Agilent Technologies develops, produces and sells complete analytics solutions which are used to develop new medicines, monitor foodstuffs, in cancer research and doping tests, among others. With its headquarters in Santa Clara, California, the company emerged in 1999 from the Hewlett-Packard technology group and has concentrated solely on analytical measurement technology since 2014.

One of the key sites in Europe is the Agilent Campus in Waldbronn, where around 1000 employees work. In July 2017, a state-of-the-art customer and technology centre was completed there and its modern architecture blends in seamlessly with the existing building. The newbuild provides workstations flooded with light for around 450 employees across 16,200 m2 of space for flexible use.

Large technology campus

The Waldbronn campus has been extended several times since it was opened in 1978 as an erstwhile Hewlett-Packard subsidiary. Its most recent addition was in 2006 in the form of a transparent office building with cafeteria. Connected to the south of this building, the new customer and technology centre has become the fifth building on the site. The three floors contain 25 technical laboratories, testing and training rooms, an auditorium, 35 meeting rooms and open office spaces. The integration of a large light well in the middle of the building ensures that the lab workstations in the centre ring have natural light too. The newbuild is connected to the existing building via a freestanding glazed bridge on the first floor.

“With the new extension, we have brought together all development and marketing areas as well as industry design and quality assurance under one roof, while also creating a representative customer space for training and product demonstrations,” explains Armin Probst, responsible for building management at Agilent in Waldbronn. “A place for open communication and exchanging ideas and experiences has thereby been created to supplement the existing site. The transparent glass façades provide all areas with attractive views of the Black Forest to the south and the Rhine valley to the north.”

Eye-catching textile façade

The Vollack Group, based in Karlsruhe, was commissioned in the summer of 2014 as the general contractor and project manager of the newbuild. In recent decades, the experts for development, planning and construction have completed numerous high-quality projects in the areas of offices, industry and health across Germany and employ around 300 people in ten locations. Starting with the existing architecture on the site, the business model and the wishes of the customer for a communicative building with high flexibility, the planners liaised closely with employees and developed an open cube resembling a pavillion with elegantly detailed glass façades.

A characteristic element of the external appearance is the textile units which protrude far above the ground floor and on the outer edges of the façades, and which form a white frame around the black steel balcony installed in front. “The unusual solution emphasises the modern character of the design and visually connects to the architecture of the neighbouring building with its large glass façades and the partially surrounding white plastered surfaces,” explains Wolfgang Eitel, partner and Managing Director of Vollack archiTec. “The view is rounded off by attractive external sun shading that is flush with the textile façade and made from perforated synthetic fabric, allowing flexible screening and sun shading for employees.”

A wide variety of façade solutions from Schüco

In order to achieve a technically and visually high-quality façade solution, which also meets the highest energy efficiency requirements, the FWS 50 aluminium mullion/transom façade from Schüco was used as a suspended façade curtain. In addition to the circumferential balconies, the façade also integrates highly thermally insulated doors from the Schüco ADS 75 HD.HI aluminium door system as well as projected top-hung vents with surface-mounted motors from the AWS 114 aluminium window system as a toplight for ventilation.

The individual character of the architecture is due to the unusual textile façade in particular. “The FACID product used blends in seamlessly with our architectural concept and highlights the expertise of Agilent as an innovative technology company,” explains architect Wolfgang Eitel. Installation on site was comparatively easy. “The façade consists of individual segments 1.20 metres wide and 10 metres long, which have been clamped into position in the aluminium substructure on the building site,” says project manager Norbert Heesen from Heidersberger Fassadenbau GmbH, the company based in Greven which was responsible for installing the complete façade.

With FACID, Schüco is picking up on the latest trend in architecture. “For the first time, there is a textile façade with the proven Schüco quality,” explains Michael Spranger, Key Account Manager at Schüco. “Not only is the façade extremely durable and multifunctional, it also offers maximum flexibility. After all, it can be replaced at any time as required without great effort, allowing the external appearance of the building to be adapted to meet changing requirements quickly and efficiently without limiting its function.”

In addition, the textile façade can be reshaped three-dimensionally or printed digitally, with an oversized company logo, for example. With continuous surfaces, the system also offers flexible shading of the interior with virtually uninterrupted views from inside to outside. “FACID therefore enables the perfect interplay of aesthetics and functionality,” says Michael Spranger, summing up the myriad benefits.

Solutions for fire and smoke protection

A key aspect when completing the newbuild was the implementation of effective fire and smoke protection. Based on the architects’ design requirements, various systems from Schüco were used.

One particular special feature is the narrow ribbon windows which were installed in the staircases of the atrium. “The two strips are connected to each floor, but they ultimately stretch over the entire building height,” explains Martin Bayer, Managing Director of RFE Rauch- und Feuerschutz-Elemente GmbH based in Stockstadt am Main. The Schüco partner fabricated various systems to have preventative fire and smoke protection. “In order to facilitate an attractive, high-quality solution with consideration of all fire protection provisions, the ribbon windows, measuring 70 centimetres wide and 13.50 metres high, were fitted with Schüco Firestop F90 internal glazing. This is a high-quality aluminium fire-resistant construction with particularly narrow face widths, enabling a slimline overall appearance with maximum transparency.”

To ensure effective fire and smoke protection in the transition from underground car park to the basement as well as in the transition to the meeting rooms, glazed Schüco ADS 80 FR 30 fire doors for 30 minutes’ fire resistance were used. “Around the bridge between the old and new building, the system was designed as a double-leaf installation with side-hung door drives,” says Martin Bayer.

In addition, in the transition from the underground car park to the basement, Schüco ADS 65.NI aluminium internal doors with side-hung door drives and without fire and smoke protection requirements were integrated. “We had already designed some of the doors to be multi-functional, allowing the building services to incorporate them into the monitoring and access control,” explains Martin Bayer.

The concept is complemented by the particularly stable, thermally insulated Schüco ADS 75 HD.HI external door unit, which visually matches the selected Schüco façade system. “In the interplay between the different units, effective fire and smoke protection which blends in harmoniously with the overall appearance has been ensured for the Agilent newbuild,” concludes Martin Bayer, summing up the interplay between the various components.

Project details
Client: Agilent Technologies Deutschland GmbH & Co. Immobilien KG, Waldbronn
Architecture: Vollack Gruppe, Karlsruhe
Fabricator: Heidersberger Fassadenbau GmbH, Greven
Developer: Hochtief Infrastructure GmbH
Implementation: ARDE Hochtief & Harsch
Gross floor space: 16,200 m2
Completed: July 2017

Schüco product solutions:
Façade: Façade Window System (FWS) 50, FACID
Window system: Aluminium Window System (AWS) 114 insert unit
Door systems: Aluminium Door System (ADS) 75 HD.HI
Fire and smoke protection:
FireStop F90 internal glazing
ADS 80 FR 30 fire door
ADS 65.NI aluminium internal doors

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SCHÜCO International KG

Based in Bielefeld, the Schüco Group develops and sells system solutions for windows, doors and façades. With more than 4900 employees worldwide, the company strives to be the industry leader in terms of technology and service today and in the future. In addition to innovative products for residential and commercial buildings, the building envelope specialist offers consultation and digital solutions for all phases of a building project - from the initial idea through to design, fabrication and installation. 12,000 fabricators, developers, architects and investors around the world work together with Schüco. The company is active in more than 80 countries and achieved a turnover of 1.575 billion euros in 2017. For more information, visit