Dräger Medical, Lübeck, Germany

Client: Drägerwerk AG
Architecture: Goetz und Hootz Architekten
Period: 2005 – 2008
Surface area: 40 000m2

The new building of Dräger Medical‘s headquarters is located on the edge of the original company site, which until now was divided by a public road. By closing the road and integrating it in the site, a continuous exterior area is created. The design concept combines the different types of exterior areas – the stylish forecourt, three courtyards and a park – to form an artistically coherent ensemble with varied details. Recurring elements and materials evoke overall continuity, whereas the different zones are designed individually, according to their location, use, and the corporate philosophy.

The most important design elements of the courtyard are the boulders typically found in the region. These huge witnesses to former ice ages create different images and perspectives when they are used in new, abstract contexts, such as floating on the water, standing upright or lying down. The coloured asphalt flooring is visually soothing and homogeneous. An autonomous, stylish area is created, which, with its clear, basic design, corresponds to the solid values of a family-owned enterprise. Whereas in the forecourt native trees and shrubs, such as alder, larch and linden, which one would rather expect to see in the park, are used as solitary trees or in dense groups, the park landscape reverses this principle: fruit trees planted as single trees contrast with dense clusters of exotic trees of striking form or autumn colours, grouped together very naturally. The unusual choice of plants creates a subtle, surprising optical illusion of the familiar and the strange. With the planting of fruit trees, an old company tradition is re-established.

The winding paths in the park are moulded to the distinctive topography of the region and offer views of the river Alte Trave passing at a lower level. A slightly protruding, recessed wall reminiscent of the ha-ha in traditional English landscape gardens offers vistas of the surrounding areas while delimiting the area to the exterior.

In contrast to the park, the courtyards represent compositions of striking solitary trees used as sculpture objects with flooring made of clinker brick, a typical construction material in the region, which is also used in the paths and the walls in the park. The variable use of clinker brick to suggest a maze, emphasise patters and to use it as flooring material for a moving topography also represents a further development of the typical methods of use for this material.