Digital Office Building for Germany’s Startup Scene: Drees & Sommer Provides Assistance on Construction of Cologne Office Complex The Ship

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The aim of "The Ship" is to strengthen the local business start-up scene and to further establish Cologne as a start-up hub. With a bridging of tradition (building on the left: "Alte Wagenfabrik", built in 1926) to innovation (new building on the right),"The Ship" will bring the concept of New Work to life.

The Ship

How tomorrow’s digital working world will look, and the requirements that buildings will have to meet, was the focus of a talk by Dr. Oliver Steinki – the principal in the construction project The Ship and co-founder of FOND OF – at Hello Future, a Drees & Sommer inhouse event on the subject of digitization in the German city of Cologne on February 28. The Ship is a pioneering construction project on a site next to the former factory building Alte Wagenfabrik in Cologne, for which Drees & Sommer is providing a range of services. The building was designed by Müller Architecture, based in Cologne.

In front of an audience of around 120 people, Oliver Steinki explained how the innovative working environments of tomorrow will look. His construction project, The Ship, will implement new work principles and create a new, collaborative platform for entrepreneurship in Cologne. The six and seven-story building, which will have a gross floor area of approximately 13,000 square meters, will provide space for around 500 workplaces. Apart from startups, which will be at the heart of The Ship as fixed-term tenants, there are plans for a coworking space. The more than 200 employees of FOND Of GmbH will also move into the new building. In addition to office space, the building will house a fitness studio, a restaurant and a childcare center for people working in the building. A roof garden will offer additional space for the exchanging of ideas. Construction work will start shortly.

Oliver Steinki commented: ‘Our plan is for The Ship to become the new face of Cologne’s startup scene, along with the adjoining former factory building, Alte Wagenfabrik, which is already known as a center of innovation. Our own story began in Cologne, and now we want to give something back to the city as a location. Sustainability, functionality, design and quality are what we are looking for in this construction project. Drees & Sommer is an expert in digital building concepts, innovative working environments, and sustainable construction, and is helping us make these aspirations a reality.’ The work being done by the international consulting and project management company was explained by Frank Kamping, Associate Partner at Drees & Sommer SE: ‘We are performing the role of general technical planner for the building’s integrated engineering systems. This means providing services relating to building services equipment, energy concepts, faςade engineering, building physics, and green building advice. But we also offer assistance in developing an integrated digitization concept, and by providing workplace consulting services.’

The Requirement: an Innovative Working Environment in a Smart Building With High Standards of IT Security

How to set up workable digital structures in the building is the question being tackled by Drees & Sommer’s digitization experts. Their job includes planning a suitable sensor and tracking system linked to and controlling the building’s self-learning ‘brain’. Of course, it is also essential to ensure a high level of IT security. More than 2,500 sensors, 156 access control points and 146 beacons – small transmitters and receivers based on bluetooth technology – will provide the state-of-the-art building with digital intelligence. While the sensors embedded in concrete ceilings and lamps will enable everything to be tracked, allowing occupancy information to be gathered for desk sharing and coworking, access control points and beacons will pass on to visitors the information they have recorded. The building will also meet very high energy standards and will have DGNB Gold certification (Global Benchmark for Sustainability of the German Sustainable Building Council).

Customized Working Environment

With regard to the new working environment in The Ship, Drees & Sommer’s workplace experts have carried out a requirements, mobility and building analysis, on the basis of which a customized workplace typology for staff has been developed jointly with the main tenant, FOND OF. Workplace design is of paramount importance, in addition to the concept for the new working environment. This involves planning which workplace modules –individual offices, office islands for teamwork or multizone workplaces – will be needed. The experts also deal with floor area layouts and the distribution of departments over the different levels.