A stocktaking

Digital super building „The Ship"

The Cologne office building "The Ship" is considered a digital super building and thus stands for the future of the working world. The idea behind the Cologne office building "The Ship" is simple: a digitalised working environment in which people feel comfortable. The implementation, however, was a lot more complex. 

Oct 18 2021

The building was equipped with an artificial building intelligence that remembers the preferences of the users. The project made headlines as a "showcase building" and "digital super-building" when it opened. But how exactly does the smart office environment work and how has it proven itself so far. A stocktaking with Dr Oliver Steinki, builder of "The Ship". 

The right environment for every activity 

Precise planning was a prerequisite for the fully digitalised property in the Ehrenfeld district of Cologne. "Thanks to a comprehensive needs analysis that we carried out before construction, the building pays precise attention to the needs of the people who work here," says Dr Oliver Steinki. The building, which curves like a ship, offers space for over 500 workplaces on seven floors. The spaces are flexibly designed to provide the right environment for every activity in the working day.

"Our goal was to create free spaces so that we can be creative in our daily work, network with others and develop new things together," says Steinki. Employees can choose how and where they want to work, as there are many retreats such as lounges, think tanks or garden offices. "Our everyday working life today is characterised by a high degree of flexibility: we often work together on a project basis and sometimes remotely, and we are constantly trying out new things - this culture is reflected here" states Dr Steinki.

Roof garden of the office building "The Ship" © FOND OF NEW CAMPUS

Demand-oriented control 

The large-scale digitalisation of the office building should offer maximum comfort for the users and ensure faster processes in the building's operation. Technological features allow the building to think for itself. Among other things, the air-conditioning and lighting conditions in the rooms are controlled according to need. "The technology is based on numerous sensors installed in the building," says Dr Oliver Steinki.

"In addition, we offer employees their own building app, which enables workspace booking, keyless entry and contactless payment in the restaurant, for example." A smart navigation with 3D view facilitates orientation within the building. Due to the full-area networking, the office building has its own fail-safe data centre for data processing.

Lounge / Restaurant © FOND OF NEW CAMPUS 

Equipment for hybrid working models 

"The Ship" has been in operation since the end of last year. Users include various companies and the Start-up Centre of Cologne University. After the lockdown during the Corona pandemic, when most employees worked in home offices, many are now moving back into their workplaces. "With Corona, for example, hybrid working models have become established that will certainly continue in the future," says Dr Oliver Steinki, commenting on the current situation.

"The fact that we were already perfectly equipped here in the building helped us enormously to overcome some of the major challenges of the pandemic as a team." Looking to the future, he sees a changing perception of the working environment: "In the future, the office will no longer be just a physical place where you work, but rather a place that symbolises the culture, values and visions of a company - both for employees and guests." 

New project with new features 

Following the experience with "The Ship", another fully digitalised building is currently being built on the opposite side. As a so-called human-centric office building, "Vorum" is scheduled to go into operation in 2024. "Here we are going one better," says Dr Oliver Steinki, "all the decisions associated with the construction concern the well-being of the people who will work here - designed with the latest smart features."

Current developments are also taken into account in the ambitious project: "Of course, a modern air filtration system is also planned, because one of the most important new requirements for office properties will be health safety in the workplace."

Author: Broekman+Partner

Write the first comment