When you think Switzerland architecture, you probably think of Swiss Chalets, not mind-blowing marble office buildings. But this stunning office complex by Wiel Aerts Architects might leave you with a different impression of the country's construction choices.
As the name implies, the Allianz Headquarters was constructed to create a new home for financial services company Allianz. While the client wanted something that stood out from the commercial area it is located, local planning regulations require that all new buildings in the area are clad in natural stone. Apparently the guidelines accept simulated stone as well, because Wiel Aerts decided to create the appearance of onyx marble inside of glass by piling up composite layers of black and white dots. Unlike real marble, this means that the pattern will appear to change according to the angel of the sun.
Inside each mock marble pane, sits a regular window and the panels were installed in a traditional grid pattern to form the exterior of the building which seems all the more striking because it simultaneously looks so familiar. In between the exterior window panel and a second interior pane sits a silver curtain that is controlled by a computer to vary the level of shade and light allowed into the building based on the outside weather and lighting.
Inside, the main enterance loby features a massive staircase that traverses all 20 storeys, offering employees a chance to interact with people on different floors without ever entering the building's core. The Headquarters are also fitted with numerous espresso corners and lounge spaces to stimulate conversation between workers.
When employees need a break, the building's five-storey annex, connected with four enclosed bridges, is equipped with a rooftop terrace dotted with Japanese maple trees.