“The buildings we inhabit and spend the majority of our lives in must be created with as much attention for natural preservation and energy efficiency as they do for comfort.” – Snohetta
The metal-framed, open plan head office for ASI Reisen, an international trekking and adventure travel company based in Austria, was constructed by renowned architectural studio Snohetta. Snohetta’s working style combines traditional craftsmanship with cutting-edge digital technology. Their design methodology ensures that the designs are both creative and practical, combining high design with long-term building performance.
ASI Reisen specializes in active and adventure travel, intending to connect cultures and add value to communities, visitors, partners, local economies, and the firm itself. ASI Reisen has been strengthening its sustainability approach. ASI Reisen’s mission is to provide environmentally friendly vacations while reducing environmental impact, increasing local economic growth, and encouraging engagement and transparency.
The office space is designed for ASI Reisen’s 65 workers and is located in Natters, Tirol, near the south of Innsbruck. It offers a long-term low carbon footprint and reflects the client’s working culture and fundamental value of sustainable trekking experiences for travelers worldwide. The timber façade of the offices is wrapped in a living ‘green curtain,’ mimicking the lush surroundings.
Snohetta’s splendid concept of an open-plan office inspired by a close symbiosis with nature was created to limit its carbon footprint. The wood outline has been designed to make an open plan format on each floor of the workplace, guaranteeing adaptability, light and open climate. Snohetta used solutions that maximize energy efficiency while minimizing waste and preserving the structure’s natural appearance.
The green curtain, which is made up of 17 different warm-weather and evergreen species growing in large planters, also acts as a glare screen and shades the large glass surfaces. Employees can utilize this metal frame as a balcony on the western side. The 118 climbing plants alter the façade’s look all year, according to seasonal thermal insulation requirements. This green buffer zone creates a microclimate that minimizes the amount of energy needed to cool the building. The green curtains, according to Snohetta, will provide insulation, reduce the structure’s energy demands, and contribute to local habitat through the office garden.
The workplace’s material range is primarily by wood, accomplished with a solid timber framework and a variety of light wood wraps. For the facade, a conventional Japanese approach was used for wood preservation known as yakisugi. Yakisugi method was chosen as it strengthens and waterproofs wood, eliminating the need for paint, and furthermore assists with ensuring it against bugs.
Green solutions have also been implemented in the interior. There are communal and private office spaces on the inside, as well as a relaxation area, restaurant, showers, and changing rooms. The presence of such public amenities emphasizes employee comfort. A bridge connects the new structure to an existing two-story office building that houses conference rooms and restrooms. Plant-filled shelves inside mimic the building’s green exterior, acting as visual zone dividers that also serve as storage and pleasant informal spots for employees to relax, read, and write.
A large stairway and a two-story lobby make an inviting environment for visitors, while glass surfaces allow panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and forests. The foyer, also known as Base Camp, is a point of entry where large wall panels shed light on the historical backdrop of the organization. The use of light emphasizes the building’s lively and attractive internal environment.
Rainwater from the roof is collected in underground storage and used to irrigate the plants on the façade and in the garden using an automatic irrigation system. Other environmentally-friendly features of the project include a reversible air-water heat transfer system that warms and cools the building, as well as photovoltaic panels that protect the roof, and the energy generated partially offsets the building’s energy use.
Temperature sensors were installed by Snohetta to control the building’s cooling system that naturally screens and manages the structure’s interior climate by controlling ventilation. Thermal-dynamic building simulation was used to test this energy concept. The natural ventilation system circulates air throughout the structure, giving users fresh air and a comfortable temperature throughout the day. The flora that surrounds the building also helps to regulate the temperature inside.
The office building made mostly of environmentally friendly timber minimizes the need for concrete, while a living curtain that wraps around the entire structure blends it into the natural landscape and lowers temperature changes. Snohetta has developed some of the world’s most prominent projects over the years. The firm has retained its original approach to achieve sustainable solutions incorporating architectural, landscape, interior, product, digital, and art design into all of its projects. The practice’s collaborative approach between Snohetta’s several disciplines is a key driving force.
- Snohetta. ASI Reisen Headquarters – A Lush Open Office Space in Timber [Online} Available at: https://snohetta.com/projects/513-asi-reisen-headquarters-a-lush-open-office-space-in-timber
- Archdaily. ASI Reisen Headquarters / Snøhetta [online]
Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/946508/asi-reisen-headquarters-snohetta
- Youtube. ASI Reisen Headquarters by Snøhetta [Video] [Online]
Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTmzIRuw2HQ