FUX – Festigungs- und Expansionszentrum
New cornerstone for the start-up scene at Alter Schlachthof
Since the official closure of the Karlsruhe slaughterhouse, the seven-hectare site situated in the heart of the city has gradually been transformed into a new centre for creative minds.
The recently inaugurated new building of the Festigungs- und Expan- sionszentrum now offers around 3,300 square metres of space for growing companies in the creative sector. It was designed by Birk Heilmeyer and Fren- zel Architekten from Stuttgart, who won the European competition in 2015.
Located to the east of the area Alter Schlachthof, FUX is adjacent to Messplatz in Karlsruhe, which is a square that is used throughout the year for various festi- vals and events (including amusement rides, stalls for food and souvenirs) whilst it is also a working place for various circus people with animals and performers. Whenever Messplatz does not host an event, it serves as a car park.
The new building has been designed in accordance with the strict specifications of the development plan and makes constructive use of the information pro- vided in the "Gestaltungshandbuch (design guideline) Alter Schlachthof".
The entrance to FUX is located on the west side, at the end of the connecting axis between the Tollhaus Cultural Centre and the Perfekt Futur Start-up Centre. A vestibule provides access to the two-storey foyer and cafeteria. This central venue in the building is the place to take a break and for conversations, as well as for small-scale public events. Also located on the ground floor is the co-work- ing space, which through its lively character continuously stimulates the atmos- phere on the ground floor level. This holds up the spirit of intent for the Alter Schlachthof area.
In line with the expected vibrant use of the building and the industrial history of the area, FUX has been designed as a contemporary loft building. It unfolds its rational structure based on a grid of 1.25/ 3.75 metres, which allows any desired office size to be realised.
The offset of the upper cubature remains visible in the interior. The thus result- ing expansion of the building provides space for access cores and communica- tion areas on the different levels. Voids interconnect the communication areas across all floors. The efficient organisation of the interior space allows for selec- tive spatial expansions and passages, which lends the building generosity de- spite the strict requirements.
Vertical access is facilitated by the main staircase to the south and by the pas- senger lift. The tenant offices are located on the five upper floors. The layout of these offices guarantees maximum versatility in mixing room sizes and allows for subsequent conversion. The strict sequence of office spaces has been inter- rupted to create areas for communication and collaboration. Another jointly used level, the spacious seminar area, is located on the 4th floor. This is where events can take place which benefit from the adjoining roof terrace as a com- munication and recreation area. Located on the 5th floor is an anchor tenant area designed as an open-plan office, which offers stunning views over Mess- platz, the old slaughterhouse and the city of Karlsruhe.
The sturdy building structure and layout of the building allow for a variety of changes in utilisation and partitioning. These permit the building to be appropri- ated by the tenants in a process-related manner.
FUX has been designed as a space framework of reinforced concrete that is based on a clear geometric order. Structure, finishing and building services ben- efit from this scheme. The reinforced concrete surfaces in the interior were left unfinished, and in the colour of the material. Concerning exposed concrete sur- faces, the architects have deliberately refrained from using a high quality con- crete finish. The installations for building services are visible at the ceilings and run in galvanised steel pipes and cable racks as well as in a simple cavity floor. The industrial touch is accentuated by the use of semi-finished products and contrasted by a few specific highlights in the furniture.
The ambitious budget goals could be met by optimising space and cubic capac- ity, selecting fewer industrial materials and an adequate technical concept (as little as possible, as much as necessary). Users can now be offered cost-effec- tive rental space in a refined, unpretentious building shell with loft character.
The exposed concrete ceilings are suitable for the use of component activation. A geothermal heating and cooling system is therefore employed for heating and air conditioning. The development is carried out via a total of 15 geothermal probes with depths between 90 and 130 metres below the building. A heat transfer medium circulates in this closed system. During the winter months it is used to extract heat from the ground by means of a heat pump. Whereas in summertime it feeds heat from the building into the subsoil, and thus facilitates thermal regeneration of the ground.
Decentralised cooling systems with air dehumidification ensure comfortable op- eration in the seminar area. In addition, the building is equipped with conven- tional radiators for peak heating loads in winter. The air is ventilated manually via natural window ventilation.