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Markus Hammes in 'The Merck Magazine'

In an interview with The Magazine, published by the Merck Group, Markus Hammes answers questions about the current Translational Science Center TSC project in Darmstadt.

How does Markus Hammes, the prestigious architect responsible for the sustainable design of the Translational Science Center in Darmstadt, believe his work influences the well-being of society?


What three elements must a building have to fit the Merck values?
→ It must create optimal working conditions for employees, it must be sustainable in the sense of the three principles of economy, ecology and socio-cultural aspects, and it must be future-oriented and durable.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this project?
To find out, together with all those involved, in advance of the planning stage, what the workflows and processes are in the generation of innovation. Our task is then to design the space, the architecture, in such a way that these processes are optimally supported.

What indisputable characteristic of the project defines its sustainability?
→ The external visible sign will be the facade with photovoltaic elements. It will be like a landmark, showing the responsible use of energy from the sun and the avoidance of CO2 emissions. The TSC will have its own inherent aesthetics derived from this.

What would you like a Merck employee to feel when entering the new building?
→ “This is where I feel comfortable, this is where I am at home. Here I am part of a team and together we create innovations”. The design of the interior is based on being able to interact with many colleagues.

How would you define your architectural style?
→ Our architecture is oriented towards people. It should provide space to move in a variety of ways and to feel free. Architecture should serve and help people, motivate and stimulate them, give them pleasure. Our architecture are (spatial) answers, to questions that were asked at the beginning of the project.

Which architects are your references?
→ My partner and I, the founders and owners of our office, have worked for Günter Behnisch for different lengths of time (among others, the 1972 Olympic stadiums in Munich are famous works by him). This has greatly influenced our work.

Do you design buildings or work/lifestyles?
That is an interesting question. We believe that architecture has a great influence on people’s well-being. When it comes to workplaces.we’ve done a lot of work on how the design of architecture supports work processes, especially in the area of research and development. From that point of view, you can’t separate the buildings from the workstyle in the answer. “Culture shapes people and people shapes culture” (Jitske Kramer). Just like in architecture.

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