Auer Weber Assoziierte
Stuttgart-based developer Argon GmbH is setting the course for a large new building project on its site at Augustaanlage 65-67 in Mannheim. As Managing Director Dirk Wehinger explained, the building with 16,000 m² of floor space, which is currently fully let to 15 office users, could make way for a new building in two to three years at the earliest. In addition to offices, the new building would also house flats and a hotel on an area of almost 22,000 m². "The office part will predominate," said Wehinger, who runs the company together with Ferdinand Piëch Junior. The winning design of an architectural competition is to be determined in spring 2019 and will serve as the basis for a new development plan. Argon had acquired the property from Landesbank Baden-Württemberg at the beginning of 2017. The Augustaanlage is Mannheim's most important city entrance and the prelude to the representative axis to the water tower - the city's landmark. This was laid out in 1907 on the occasion of the "International Art and Great Horticultural Exhibition" with a four-row avenue of plane trees.
The Augustaanlage and in particular the central green area were redesigned and planted a few years ago. Several aging office buildings have been or are being renovated or renewed. The establishment of gastronomic uses increases the mix of uses and enlivens the public space. The competition site with a size of approx. 7,300 m² is located on the Augustaanlage directly opposite Europaplatz. The competition organiser intends to realise a new development, whereby the intended concept is based on a mixed use consisting of offices, a hotel, residential use and possibly smaller retail/restaurant units on the ground floor facing the Augustaanlage. The administrative buildings currently still on the site will be put up for disposal. The special feature of the task is the prominent location and the possibility of creating an urban marker for the eastern entrance to Mannheim in interaction with the buildings opposite.
The fifteen-storey new office tower on Schleinermacherstrasse will form an ensemble together with the other high points of the Augustanlage. The four new buildings of the quarter with a divided use of 60 flats, office space of around 11,000 m² and a hotel with 204 rooms present themselves in their structure and materiality as clear, finely articulated structures with an independent character, which develop from a common base storey. The open space on level +1 is available to all connected user groups as a green and neighbourhood-friendly open space. The architectural firm Auer Weber commissioned Loomn to visualise the designs for the competition. As a professional agency for architectural visualisations, Loomn photorealistically visualised the design and embedded it in its potential surroundings, with the visualisation showing how the building fits in with the neighbouring structures. This allows the jury to get a precise and detailed picture of the project. The focus was on the presentation of the façade and the associated overall impression. In the end, the design was awarded third place.
According to the jury, the design for the new development of a mixed-use quarter opposite Europaplatz in Mannheim stands out for its unorthodox volume distribution in the urban space. The differentiated height and sculptural volumetrics of the four buildings create a coherent ensemble of buildings in the urban space. Together with the building to the south (Jahnbau), it forms the eastern prelude (city entrance) to the urban development of Mannheim's city centre and blends in well with its surroundings in terms of grain and scale, thus creating attractive spatial intersections. By skilfully setting back the high point on the Augustaanlage towards the city centre, the designers avoid direct confrontation with the Jahnbau opposite and rather seek proximity to other high points on the Augustaanlage. A single-storey plinth area forms the common centre, which allows ground-level access to the underground car park, including delivery from Nietzschestraße, and is also welcomed by the jury. High-quality functional areas enclose the plinth on its outer sides and thus create a positive spatial link with the urban space.