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Sustainable headquarters features fabric stitched into building

Case Studies, Features | September 1, 2008 | By:

The headquarters of fashion designer Hugo Boss.

Space for more than 300 employees and design studios is neatly tucked into the Hugo Boss center for design and development, located in the tiny Swiss village of Coldrerio not far from the Italian border. Although the staff for the designer label may number in the hundreds, the building itself is fashionably understated, like the famous German fashion label, and nestles into the landscape. Layers of materials and texture ensconce the building like layers of cloth. First an outer layer of diagonal latticework made from local larch is supported away from the building façade by fir gluelam arches at the top and at the bottom by steel cantilevered balconies that encircle the upper two floors. Next, on top of the gluelam rib arches is stretched a thin membrane of ETFE foil that acts as a transparent roof for the topmost balcony.

Designed by Italian architect Matteo Thun, the Hugo Boss Centre is a 14,460m2 rectangular building with rounded corners and a covered atrium down the center. The diagonal exterior grid symbolizes the warp and weft of fabric as a brand statement of the innovative fashion label, and conducts light into the building’s interior, a bridge between working space and nature. The central atrium floods the interior spaces with ample light and helps connect each workspace with natural light from two sides.

The rooftop membrane consists of 12 bays that are clamped linearly to the wood lattice screen with powder-coated aluminum clamping profiles. Fasteners are made of stainless steel, and the membrane is separated from the timber with a protective gasket. Stainless steel straps across adjacent clamping lines provide a horizontal force transfer mechanism. Interior spaces are arranged as a free flowing open office plan with utility cores (vertical circulation and bathrooms) at either ends. The ground floor has administration, a cafeteria to handle 300, and conference and meeting spaces.

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