The Milestone

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 be literally a landmark, 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 landmark 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.


Location: Esslingen, Germany

Year: 2016+

Client: RVI, Germany

Program: 6,500m² Mixed-use building with offices, bar and restaurant

Budget: Undisclosed


Europe consists of thousands of small towns that compete for recognition. A beautiful and useful force, which can create a strong energy for the future of Europe. One of these towns is Esslingen am Neckar. A city situated in the region of Stuttgart, in the south of Germany. In Esslingen, in the “Neue Weststadt”, a former freight depot with a diverse industrial history, a new office building will be realised. Together with RVI, a developer situated in Saarbrücken, MVRDV design a new Milestone for the city, which will draw attention to the town and its developments, a “crystal rock”.

Formally known as “Block E”, the new mixed-use office building marks the centre of this newly developed district, which will further accommodate a university, housing developments and retail stores. MVRDV’s ambition is to generate a building that shows the city of Esslingen and at the same time, opens up to its surrounding and its users. To the people who pass by on the train, and to those that look at the city from the hills ‘Here We Are.’ It shows its pride, its history and its future.

The façade traces the boundaries of Esslingen and the topography of its landscape, which is pushed in through a series of pixels that form an “Esslinger Room”. A series of stairs, terraces, and platforms emerge and leads to the other side, reaching a viewpoint in the shape of the city centre for public use, where visitors can enjoy the views of the vineyards and surrounding hills.

The façade is designed as partially mirrored, with fritted glass containing PV cells that mirror the environment, the town, its hills and its people. It shows the pixelated map of the area of Esslingen and around. Each pixel carries different information, featuring the stories of the city and its inhabitants. Accompanied by a smartphone app one can discover its richness, creating the public library of the town. On the ground level, the crystal rock opens up to the public square located in front, connecting the city with the building and providing public amenities including a restaurant, café and meeting areas. On the upper levels, modern office spaces are created to encourage a healthy work-life balance.

In contrast, at night, the building becomes a beacon for Esslingen, illuminated through its façade, creating an extraordinary atmosphere. This turns the public square in front into a new meeting point for its inhabitants and the city’s next milestone.


Architect: MVRDV

Principal in charge: Jacob van Rijs

Design Team: Markus Nagler and Tobias Tonch with Christine Sohar, Alessio Palmieri, Cheng Cai and Bartosz Kobylakiewicz

Visualization: Antonio Luca Coco, Kirill Emelianov, Luca Piattelli and Pavlos Ventouris

Images: MVRDV

Copyright: MVRDV 2018 – (Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries)

Alternate Text Alternate Text Alternate Text Alternate Text View Gallery
View Worldmap