Leica Camera AG Headquarters, Wetzlar

New construction in large format

“From the very beginning, we followed the premise of wanting to create something extraordinary in the design and implementation. The company and the Leica brand are renowned for unparalleled precision and perfection – and these same values needed to be convincingly reflected in the architecture of the new building,” says Helmut Kleine-Kraneburg of Gruber + Kleine-Kraneburg Architekten as he explains the guiding concept behind the design of the new headquarters for the venerable Leica Camera AG company in Wetzlar.
 
The newly constructed building was the finishing touch of the “Leitz Park” commercial complex, which serves as the eastern entrance to the town of Wetzlar. In contrast to conventional industrial parks, the campus is a striking urban structure, yet blends perfectly into the existing cityscape – an architectural landmark uniting production, administration and service in one location.
The multifunctional building complex houses the Leica flagship store and a museum, as well as manufacturing and logistic areas, technical development and design departments, offices and other facilities. A café and numerous public observation points can be found in the central square alongside exhibition areas. The café serves as a focal point for visitors and staff from the companies around the square.
 
By the time visitors arrive at the forecourt and curving staircase, they are sure to have noticed the resemblance between the curved façade of the Leica headquarters and a set of camera lenses. Two cylindrical structures form the main entrance to the building. The circular segments continue inside, providing an automatic association with the Leica products of lenses and lens rings. The façade concept also references the existing buildings of the complex by using precast elements of exposed concrete in the tiered and perforated façade to form the dominating façade element.
 
Clear use of form, high quality materials and precise workmanship are not just evident in the design of the façade, but also in the formulation of the interior, where precision down to the smallest detail can be found. A trait found in the timeless LS 990 switches from JUNG in pure white, which lend the electrical installation purist design accents.
 
The transition between the public customer forum and the production areas is delineated from the outside through the interplay of the façade topology and accentuated inside by breaks in the façade and outdoor vistas. On the ground floor, a partially curved glass façade standing some 5 metres high and running around the entire structure offers passers-by expansive views into the building. The glass façade, together with the construction of a viewing platform, emphasises both the architecture of the new building as well as the entrance to the city of Wetzlar.
图片 : Stefan Müller
图片 : Leica Camera AG

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