Dezeen Magazine

MVRDV's "office village" avoids business park cliches says Jacob van Rijs

MVRDV created an urban centre in the heart of "business-park suburbia" with its UPV Munich office park, says studio co-founder Jacob van Rijs in the third movie from our exclusive series (+ movie).

The Rotterdam-based firm won a competition in 1999 to design the office park on the outskirts of Munich. The first phase involved the construction of nine buildings – five by MVRDV and another four by local firm Lauber Architekten.

Office Park by MVRDV

The main aim was to recreate the successful aspects of a city-centre complex, even though the project is located out of town. This led to to each building being given similar but unique characteristics, together forming a heterogeneous ensemble.

Related content: see all our stories about MVRDV

"The essence of it is essentially like an office village," says Van Rijs in the film. "Every building is a rather simple box-like shape with one facade, and every building has a distinct element that differentiates it from the rest – this can be a colour, it can be a material, or a texture of the facade."

"You see a kind of office-like atmosphere in a different setting, somehow a kind of urbanity in the middle of a business park suburbia," he adds.

Office Park by MVRDV

The complex is occupied by a mix of different tenants. There is only one car park, forcing both employees and visitors to walk around the complex and enter the buildings via the front door, rather than using elevators or stairs from basement parking levels.

"People have to park a car and walk to the front door of the office like you do in a normal city, you walk out on the street and then you go into the building," explains Van Rijs. "You see colleagues, people from other companies, you see life on the street."

Office Park by MVRDV

Inside, the office floors were designed to be both flexible and adaptable, and different buildings can be linked via connecting basements. There are also rooftop gardens, creating spaces where employees can take time out from their work.

"I like it when you are in different corners of the building, you look outside and you always see a different combination of facades in a picture frame," adds Van Rijs.

The project was completed in 2003, 10 years after Van Rijs co-founded MVRDV along with partners Winy Maas and Nathalie de Vries. One of the studio's first major projects was Villa VPRO, a public broadcasting centre in Hilversum, while later well-known projects include the Glass Farm shop and office complex and the Markthal in Rotterdam.

Office Park by MVRDV

This movie is the third in a series produced by MVRDV. The first reveals the story behind Book Mountain, a library contained within a glass pyramid, while the second shows the transformation of a Neoclassical chapel into a museum entrance.

Photography is by Hans Engels.