Tour Total in Berlin
by Barkow Leibinger

| 8 comments
 

This tower with a rippling facade of faceted concrete piers is the new Berlin headquarters for French oil giant Total, designed by German architects Barkow Leibinger.

Tour Total in Berlin by Barkow Leibinger

Above and top: photography is by Corinne Rose

Architects Frank Barkow and Regine Leibinger told Dezeen how the grid of the facade design follows a common Berlin typology. "The faceting of the facade is a way of elaborating on this type, or subverting it a bit, to produce a visual effect that is in line with Total's requirement for a strong elegant image for their building," they explain.

Tour Total in Berlin by Barkow Leibinger

Above: photograph is by Christian Richters

"Optically the facade emphasises the verticality of the building. It is closed and sculptural when seen obliquely," they added.

Tour Total in Berlin by Barkow Leibinger

Above: photograph is by Christian Richters

The concrete grid clads every elevation of the 68-storey 68-metre tower and offers enough support to allow column-free spaces on each of the 18 floors.

Tour Total in Berlin by Barkow Leibinger

Above: photograph is by Nicole Nunez

At ground level, columns project outwards to form an arcade along the north elevation and support a canopy across the main entrance on the south-west corner.

Tour Total in Berlin by Barkow Leibinger

Above: photograph is by Corinne Rose

The faceted concrete reappears inside the building as a solid wall, lining the edge of a staircase in the reception lobby.

Tour Total in Berlin by Barkow Leibinger

Above: photograph is by Nicole Nunez

See more projects from Berlin, including an all-grey apartment block and a hotel with an extreme mirrored cantilever.

Tour Total in Berlin by Barkow Leibinger

Above: photograph is by Nicole Nunez

Here's some information from Barkow Leibinger:


Tour Total, Berlin, Europacity

The Europacity is a masterplan for a new urban district of 40 hectares directly to the north of the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) in Berlin. The master plan will accommodate an art campus, marina, restaurants, residences, and offices along the Heidestrasse. The first building in this plan, for the French energy company Total, was completed in fall 2012. The Tour Total is a singular high-rise that gives the company and its 500 employees a clear identity and location for their headquarters in Germany.

Tour Total in Berlin by Barkow Leibinger

Above: photograph is by Johannes Foerster

Barkow Leibinger's design was developed in a series of workshops with the client, the tenant, and the city-planning agency. The 68-meter building consists of 18 floors including the entry level lobby and bistro, offices, and a technical floor.

Tour Total in Berlin by Barkow Leibinger

Above: photograph is by Johannes Foerster

An early goal for a DGNB Silver certificate for sustainability guided the planning decisions. Much of this was achieved through an intelligent facade system and energy re-use. The volume of the building (depth and length) generates well-lit and naturally ventilated office floors. The form of the building reacts to a number of existing urban conditions. Its front is oriented to Heidestrasse and to the planned future park to the north. The overall form then folds creating a concave and convex side in reaction to the orthogonal edge to the Heidestrasse and to the radial system generated by the curving Minna-Cauer Strasse. A two-storey arcade defined by columns wraps the building base with closed and open arcades for the main entrance and a pedestrian path to the north. The arcade acts as a filter between the lobby and the exterior and as a scaling device for the overall building.

Tour Total in Berlin by Barkow Leibinger

Above: site plan - click above for larger image

The free-standing tower defines a pedestrian passage that leads to a new public space with restaurants and other amenities, located between the new tower and a planned adjacent urban block. An offset core places the elevator lobby at the east facade giving each office floor daylight and orientation at the arrival point on each floor.

Tour Total in Berlin by Barkow Leibinger

Above: ground floor plan - click above for larger image

Supporting the formal dynamic of the building and Total’s identity of mobility and energy, the load-bearing facade is made up of varying facetted pre-cast concrete elements that adjust to the building's changing form.

Tour Total in Berlin by Barkow Leibinger

Above: typical upper floor plan - click above for larger image

The facade grid uses surface depth and sculptural definition to emphasize the verticality of the building. The grid consists of a geometric pattern which repeats itself diagonally, wrapping around the corners of the building like a thick curtain. It also acts as a mediator between the private interior spaces and the very public exterior space. The load bearing facade combined with the core provides for column free interior workspaces.

Tour Total in Berlin by Barkow Leibinger

Above: section - click above for larger image

Program: lobby, offices, conference and seminar rooms, underground parking garage
Client/Investor: CA Immo Deutschland GmbH
Location: Berlin, Deutschland
Size: 28.000 qm gesamt / 18.000 qm oberirdisch
Time for Completion: 07/2010 – 09/2012

  • Aatish

    “The concrete grid clads every elevation of the 68-storey tower and offers enough support to allow column-free spaces on each of the 18 floors.”

    The description later goes on to say 68 metres, so I assume the first time is a typo.

    • http://www.dezeen.com Dezeen

      Hi Aatish. You’re right – thanks for pointing that out!

      Amy/Dezeen

  • mindgame

    Could be better to stick with straight lines, I guess.

    • Hovis231

      That took you 1.5 seconds to think up and approx 24 seconds to type. I hope that after you clicked on Submit you then spent a minimum of 60 seconds regretting writing a comment that translates as “could be better to stick with everything the way it has been done before.”

      I think it’s not a perfect building. Some of the views along the facade become a little messy. But in general it is an elegant and visually interesting solution that I am sure was reached by more than just a process of ‘”shall we do straight lines? Naaah, let’s do wiggles.” And it looks well built. We have enough boring straight lines in Berlin already and we need practices like Barkow Leibinger to bring something fresh to the table now and then.

      • JayCee

        I suspect the previous commentator was suggesting that it is quite fashionable right now for European architects to “subvert” the straight lines of buildings. The kink in the building is testament to that without (judging solely from the photos) actually imaprting any real architectural benefit to the building. It looks interesting in plan form but it doesn’t affect the sillouhette of what is essentially a slab building. The rippling facade is pretty wallpaper but the juxtaposition of “podium” and facade is frustratingly clumsy where the kink happens becasue otherwise it is quite well resolved and flows together beautifully.

  • MWA

    I get dizzy looking at this facade.

  • http://dailygrail.com/ Red Pill Junkie

    I would have liked to see more of the interior.

  • http://tobern.com Tobias

    First off, this is a tough spot for any building (in Berlin). Second, yes it is gimmicky, and the (proto-fascist) podium vs contemporary tower is clumsy but I suppose mostly thanks to the hyper conservative Berlin building regs.

    Third, coming back to its location it is almost cocky of Total (formerly Total-Fina-Elf) to make such a strong statement right next to Germany’s governmental center, if one remembers the scandal involving said company and the government of Chancellor Kohl and gigantic sums of bribes in the early to late 1990s.