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MVRDV reveals ‘crystal rock’ design for The Milestone, a new 6,500m2 mixed-use office building in Esslingen, Germany

MVRDV reveals ‘crystal rock’ design for The Milestone, a new 6,500m2 mixed-use office building in Esslingen, Germany

The Milestone is a new 6,500m2 mixed-use office building by MVRDV with a distinct part-reflective façade and open geometric core which has been selected by a jury for the city of Esslingen. The building will literally be a milestone, its façade designed like a crystal rock is interactive and carries the topography of the town and messages about the history and people of Esslingen. In this sense, it will become a new milestone for Esslingen that celebrates its past whilst looking forward towards the future. RVI developers have commissioned the project whose construction start is envisioned for 2020.

Located in Esslingen am Neckar in the region of Stuttgart in the south of Germany, Esslingen, a city with a fine historical town centre, has for the last decade progressed with ambitious regeneration projects in the areas around its main railway station. The Milestone, a 6,500m2 12-storey mixed-use building with public viewing platform located in Neue Weststadt on its square is one of such projects signalling the city’s future ambition.

“This building shows Esslingen to all people who pass by on trains and will become a new symbol to reflect its past heritage and future’’, says Winy Maas, MVRDV co-founder. “The façade with fritted glass will have QR codes integrated on to it informing visitors about Esslingen’s people, landscape, and histories which makes the building an interactive library for all.”

The buildings’ volume is pushed inwards to create a fragmented façade, an ‘Esslinger grotto’ that reflects its actual topography and forms an open public walkway right through the centre, marking the location of the central district. On upper levels, offices are located and envisioned as light, attractive and flexible spaces that are customisable for different users to create combinations of work and life. On the ground level, the crystal rock façade opens up to the public square in front connecting the city to the building and provides public amenities including a café, restaurant and meeting areas.

The Milestone’s partly mirrored-transparent façade integrates technology and sustainability with the use of fritted glass to reduce overheating, PV cells to store and generate energy, and finally, QR codes which carry information about the city in a pixelated map spread across the building making it both visible and readable. The three-dimensional map is located on the lower part of the building extends to a height of 40 meters, and with stairs and terraces, it forms a publicly accessible core that tenants and visitors can walk up to take in views of the vineyards and surrounding hills. All of these sustainability features in the façade all the potential for the building to become partly self-sufficient in future.

The transparency of the façade allows an interaction between inside and out, whilst reflecting the daily interactions in the square thus turning the front of the building into a new meeting point. In contrast, at night, the building becomes illuminated through its façade and is a new beacon for Esslingen. For train travellers, the current beacon being a large chimney of a former knife factory with the abbreviation of the factory name on its side, spelling the word DICK, which means ‘big’ in German.

MVRDV was commissioned to work on the project by investors RVI and construction will start in 2020.

Visit the project page here to find out further information.