OMA Wins Axel Springer Competition

John Hill
31. March 2014
OMA's Winning Proposal, courtesy of Axel Springer.

Rem Koolhaas and company beat out former OMA employees Bjarke Ingels and Ole Scheeren for Berlin media center.

OMA - Office for Metropolitan Architecture has won the architectural competition for an office building in Berlin, Germany, for media company Axel Springer. The design by Rem Koolhaas bested two finalists by practices led by former OMA employees: BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group and Buro Ole Scheeren. The competition began in May 2013, with 18 German and international architecture firms participating. The three finalists were announced in December last year, and Axel Springer announced the unanimous winner on March 25, 2014.

OMA's Winning Proposal, courtesy of Axel Springer.

Per a statement, the client asked entrants "to develop ideas to create additional space for Axel Springer's growing business divisions, and in particular its digital offers. In addition, the planned building structure should set new standards in terms of architectural atmosphere, usage and room conception, reflecting a modern working environment."

OMA's Winning Proposal, courtesy of Axel Springer.

Koolhaas's scheme is focused about a large atrium – 30 meters high – that is oriented toward the existing Axel Springer building on Zimmerstrasse, a street that previously separated East and West Berlin. A plan of interconnected terraces and public workspaces creates an environment that enables both individual and collaborative work. Jury president Prof. Dr. Friedrich von Borries praised how the scheme "opens up a completely new working and communication landscape to its future users."

BIG's Proposal, courtesy of Axel Springer.

Axel Springer CEO Dr. Mathias Döpfner said "[Koolhaas] presented the conceptually and esthetically most radical model. The fundamental innovation of working environments will support the cultural transformation towards a digital publishing house."

BIG's Proposal, courtesy of Axel Springer.

Rem Koolhaas stated: "It is a wonderful occasion to build in Berlin again, on this historical site of all places, for a client who has mobilized architecture to help perform a radical change…a workplace in all its dimensions." The building for Axel Springer will be OMA's third building completed in Berlin, following the Netherlands Embassy (2003) and Checkpoint Charlie Apartments (1981).

BIG's Proposal, courtesy of Axel Springer.

Axel Springer is planning to display all of the submissions from the competition at the German Architecture Museum in Frankfurt am Main.

Buro Ole Scheeren's Proposal, courtesy of Axel Springer.
Buro Ole Scheeren's Proposal, courtesy of Axel Springer.
Buro Ole Scheeren's Proposal, courtesy of Axel Springer.

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