Concrete Arms and Glass Ashlar

Concrete Arms and Glass Ashlar

WALTER KNOLL AG headquarters

“A strong architectural idea must be able to be described in one sentence.“

Concrete, glass and steel are basic elements architect Hansulrich Benz likes using for his buildings. Depicting each of these materials in their very own phenomenology and putting them in an industrial context, was the challenge with the new building of the Walter Knoll AGheadquarters in Herrenberg. The company has a 140-year tradition under its belt and has been producing upholstered furniture, boss rooms and conference systems deployed in residential as well as object areas for three generations already.


New Structures

In order to realize the principal’s company concept, open relations and interlinked processes, a new component had to be developed for the hitherto somewhat unstructured industrial area. Some areas in historical and new buildings have been re-strucured. The new building now combines underground car park (basement), production facilities (1st floor / 2nd floor), administration (3rd floor) and showroom (4th floor) on five floors. Within the scope of re-structuring, the clinker building, where Walter Knoll moved in in 1901, was released again and now stands out much more than before.



Basic principle of the multi-functional buildings is a concrete arm with a glass ashlar pushed inside. The frame specifies the proportions and makes the new buildings stand out compared with the historical area. The shell, consisting of aluminum panels and glass screens, is able to adapt to the surroundings. You look inside the building and at the same time perceive the public space’s mirror effect. “A monolithic building needs this effect in order to integrate itself into its surroundings “, the architect says. Glass lamellas in front of the Southern façade take care of heat protection, their angles are controlled by a weather station.

The generous free space between the arm and the ashlar is used as a foyer. This area is transparent from top to bottom. Opening bridges on each floor allow looking outside into the glass cube. Each of the four floors has an identity of its own in terms of design, not depending on their respective function. For the company, this formal idea fully works in every technical and esthetical respect. Six main columns spanning approx. 12.5 meters spread across the nearly 1,000 square meters of floor area allow for flexible usage. Smaller facade support beams have been added to the construction.


Invisible Building Equipment

Since statics are not the same on all points of the spanned flat ceilings, areas with less load were able to be thinned to take up the building equipment. The architect’s new development in cooperation with the specialist engineers combines the benefits of a thermo-active building system with the ones of a suspended installation. Everything has been stored here, heating, cooling and water sprinklers as well as the power supply. The undersurface of the ceiling appears as a homogenous fair-faced concrete ceiling.
A crucial part of the concept are the climate modules used for heating, cooling, airing and absorbing noise. The joint between the models and the concrete ceiling houses an end-to-end light ribbon. Apart from that, further media connections such as current bars and damping units for the leather warehouse can be installed here.


Project details


Design: Hansulrich Benz, freelance architect BDA, Weissach, Germany / Executive planning: BFK + Partner Architekten BDA, Stuttgart, Germany


Completion: 2006




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admin's picture
admin 21. June 2011 - 18:57

super cities...

jeremycort88's picture
jeremycort88 11. November 2014 - 12:02

That is just so lovely. Stainless is quite a tricky material to use.

billmarket17's picture
billmarket17 17. February 2015 - 9:55

Only an professional architect can create something amazing from nothing. An architect is always challenged to exceed himself to offer the client an unique building design. For instance, the architect who is responsible for the homes from is a genius. You won't find anywhere else so much unicity.

prabirbanik82's picture
prabirbanik82 5. August 2015 - 10:02

He uses these materials in an innovative manner here, which is why he has been able to create such a splendid look. One could also blend these materials to build a beautiful residential place. Those who have garden, they need to use the right outdoor garden decor items to create a beautiful look.

modhuleenab's picture
modhuleenab 11. August 2015 - 14:01

When you use glass in any such construction project you can always expect a brilliant outcome, but the job is tricky so you have to use this material carefully. However, now you can find glass for such projects online, not just that but you can also find air filter cabinets online.

prabirbanik82's picture
prabirbanik82 21. September 2015 - 12:08

Using these different elements in a balanced manner is a difficult task, but here it has been done in a commendable manner. However, they should buy some good furniture from reputed institutional furniture suppliers.

modhuleenab's picture
modhuleenab 22. September 2015 - 10:11

The facade looks amazing here, however, it was really a brilliant idea to use these different elements together for this building. For your house you need to hire the best construction company. Now you can find these companies online, not just that but if you are relocating and looking for a local moving company Hopkins MN, you can find it online as well.

modhuleenab's picture
modhuleenab 30. September 2015 - 10:41

There is no denying the fact that he has been using these three separate materials to create some of the most amazing structures. But he should also consider using other materials too. However, if you are living in an old house then you should consider approaching a company which offers mold remediation near Washington DC.