Company Cafeteria in Ditzingen

Over the last ten years, the German high-tech firm Trumpf has expanded and renovated the company’s campus. After constructing a number of buildings accommodating production and administration, its most recent addition is a company cafeteria, located at the centre of the compound, for the 2000 employees. The low-slung pavilion with hexagonal footprint stands out from the surrounding company buildings and makes reference to its special function as commons and meeting place. The space can hold up to seven hundred guests; in addition, it will be used for special events. The volume required was substantial, yet it is integrated inconspicuously in the terrain: the auxiliary spaces are concealed below ground, and the restaurant’s main level is situated four metres below grade. As a result, there is direct access from the subterranean pedestrian tunnel, the campus’s most important circulation system connecting the separate buildings. The transition to street level is made by employing adjacent terraces and sunken gardens as well as via the gallery level, which is above the auxiliary spaces and accessible from a generously scaled outdoor stairway. The most striking architectural element is without a doubt the roof – which, despite its heft, appears to be lightweight – spanning the lofty, continuously glazed space (see also p. 78). The striking honeycomb-like timber structure imbues the interiors with a pleasant spatial depth and scale. In addition, the integrated lighting concept provides an accentuated interplay of dark and light surfaces: Some of the timber honeycombs penetrate the roof surface as skylights, others contain the artificial lighting. The remaining honeycombs are stiffened with perforated timber elements which also play a role in the acoustics concept. The timber structure is supported by hollow steel sections which rest on a total of only nine column groups. Because each of these groups is broken down into three slender, partially inclined columns, the structure makes a light-hearted and playful impression – and the space seems to be almost free of columns.

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