When developing its new head office, international trekking and adventure travel company ASI Reisen sought to have its new space reflect the company’s working culture and commitment to offering sustainable trekking experiences for travelers around the world. Situated in Natters, just south of Innsbruck, Austria, this new timber building with an open office concept offers several solutions that will enable the long-term low environmental footprint of the office space. Inspired by a symbiosis between nature and humanity, the design concept was developed together with ASI Reisen’s employees and the design team from Snøhetta.
Surrounded by a lush exterior, the four-story timber structure combines timber frame construction with solid wooden elements to optimize material use and allow for the greatest amount of open floor plans.
In addition to the open office concept and sustainable construction methods, the building features an optimized and sustainable energy concept, based on a combination of high-tech and low-tech solutions.
For humans to continue to live and thrive on this planet, the buildings we inhabit and spend most of our lives in need to be built with as much consideration for natural preservation and energy efficiency as for comfort.
“With its resource-saving timber construction and sophisticated sustainable energy concept, the new ASI headquarters marks an inspiration for responsibly constructing our homes and office spaces for the future. At the same time, the new office space offers a pleasant and modern working atmosphere for its employees,” explains Patrick Lüth, Managing Director of Snøhetta’s studio in Innsbruck.
A “green curtain” of climbing plants growing on a suspended metal frame covers the blackened wooden façade, ensuring the building blends harmoniously into its verdant forest surroundings.
Composed of 17 different warm weather and evergreen species growing in big planters, this green curtain also serves as a glare shield and for shading the generous glass surfaces.
On the western side, the employees can use this metal frame as balcony. The 118 climbing plants change the appearance of the façade throughout the year and thus also adapt to seasonal thermal insulation needs. The microclimate created by this green buffer zone reduces the energy required for cooling the building.
For the facade, a traditional Japanese method of wood preservation was used, known as yakisugi. Slightly charred and thus carbonized, the façade is both waterproof and durable without the need for further painting, while also protecting against insects. The basement and the building core are made of reinforced concrete. Wood was also used for the mullion-transom-façade, the windows, floors and acoustic panels.
Rainwater from the roof is collected in an underground cistern and feeds the automatic irrigation system for the plants on the façade and the garden. Together with the 1,215 new plants in the open space consisting of 73 local species, the green façade also contributes to local biodiversity, ensuring that the building is a good neighbor to its human and other-than-human communities.