Submitted by WA Contents

MVRDV’s mega-crystallized mixed-use tower will map the history of Esslingen on its interactive facade

Germany - Jan 31, 2018 - 01:00   6696 views

MVRDV has released plans for a new mixed-use office tower in the heart of Esslingen in Germany, which is designed to be a landmark with its distinct part-reflective façade and open geometric core to introduce itself as a "mega crystallised tower". 

Named Crystal Rock, the project was selected by a jury for the city of Esslingen, as it considerably interacts with the city context and the history through its dynamic facade and dominant geometry. 

Designed literally to be a milestone in the city, its façade acts like a crystal rock and will be interactive and carry the topography of the town and messages about the history and people of Esslingen.

"Located in Esslingen am Necker in the region of Stuttgart in the south of Germany, Esslingen, a city with a fine historical town centre, has for the last decade progressed with ambitious regeneration projects in the areas around its main railway station," said MVRDV.

The 6,500-square-metre building will reach at 12-storey and will include offices, meeting areas, bar, restaurant, and a public viewing platform located in Neue Weststadt on its square is one of such projects signalling the city’s future ambition. 

"MVRDV ambitious design responds to the client’s brief for a mixed-use building that brings together the tension between tradition and modernity of the city," added the studio. 

"This building shows Esslingen to people all who pass by on trains and will become a new symbol to reflect its past heritage and future’," said Winy Maas, MVRDV co-founder. 

“The façade with fritted glass will have QR codes integrated on to it informing visitors about Esslingen’s people, landscape, and histories which makes the building an interactive library for all."

"The buildings' volume is pushed inwards to create a fragmented "esslinger grotto" that reflects Esslingen’s actual topography and forms an open public walkway right through its centre, marking the location of the central district." 

Design steps diagram

Offices are located on upper levels to take natural light, to be attractive and create flexible spaces that are customisable for different users to create combinations of work and life. 

On the ground level, the crystal rock façade is opened up to the public square in front connecting the city to the building and provides public amenities including a café, restaurant and meeting areas.

Mapping diagram

"The Milestone’s part mirrored-transparent façade integrates technology and sustainability with the use of fritted glass to reduce overheating, PV cells to store and generate energy, and finally, QR codes which carry information about the city in a pixelated map spread across the building making it both visible and readable," added the studio. 

"The map, be located on the lower part of the building extends to a height of 40 meters, and with stairs and terraces, it forms a publicly accessible core that tenants and visitors can walk up to take in views of the vineyards and surrounding hills. All of these sustainability features in the façade all the potential for the building to become partly self-sufficient in future."


The transparency of the façade allows an interaction between inside and out, whilst reflecting the daily interactions in the square thus turning the front of the building into a new meeting point. In contrast, at night, the building becomes illuminated through its façade and is a new beacon for Esslingen. 

The Milestone

"For train travellers, the current beacon being a large chimney of a former knife factory with the abbreviation of the factory name on its side, spelling the word DICK, which means 'big' in German," explained the firm.

Developed by RVI, the project is expected to start construction in 2020. 

MVRDV recently completed an exhibition space with colour-coded rooms in Design Society Shenzhen. The firm's Valley mixed-use complex is under construction in Amsterdam, as well as Public Art Depot in Museumpark in Rotterdam and a new green-infilled urban corridor - called Tainan Axis - in Taiwan. 

Project facts

Location: Esslingen, Germany

Year: 2016+

Client: RVI, Germany

Size and Programme: 6,500m2 Mixed-use building with offices, bar and restaurant 

Budget: Undisclosed

Design: MVRDV – Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de VriesDesign Team: Winy Maas, Markus Nagler, Tobias Tonch, Christine Sohar, Alessio Palmieri, Cheng Cai and Bartosz Kobylakiewicz

Visualization: Antonio Luca Coco, Kirill Emelianov, Luca Piattelli, Pavlos Ventouris

All images © MVRDV 

> via MVRDV