Wager Gärtner Knoch

Address: Am Graben 23, 84036 Landshut, Germany

Sector: Architect

Year: 2018

Architect: Magnus Wager, Wager Gärtner Knoch Architekten GmbH

Office planning: Bene GmbH

STUDIO by Bene in a historical wooden house

The architectural practice of Wager Gärtner Knoch specialises in projects involving the refurbishment and conversion of buildings that are worth preserving. It therefore comes as no surprise to learn that the team of architects has implemented a special refurbishment project for its own office: a heritage-listed, mediaeval wooden house constructed in 1496 and at serious risk of collapse was structurally refurbished. It is now used by the architectural practice as a working base and is a particularly attractive reference project of the team of architects.

The perfect match: STUDIO by Bene, the workplace system created for those who do not fit predetermined patterns and who live, work and think design. STUDIO gives this self-determination all the space it needs. Order and creative chaos are brought together to make room: for new ideas, new challenges and new ambitions, professionally and personally.

Thomas Feichtner, product designer, on his inspiration for STUDIO by Bene: “Many of my colleagues often built their own furniture because they couldn’t find what they wanted at a conventional office furniture store. That was my starting point. And then I simply asked myself: “What furniture would I personally like to have in the office?” Creative types don’t distinguish between work and private life, between working time and free time. It’s not so much about work-life balance, but more about loving your work. What’s more, this group has many design lovers who like a nice environment both in private and in the office. The boundaries between home and office are fluid. They’d like to feel like they’re at home there.”

The workstations supplied are STUDIO work tables, complemented with STUDIO shelving. Combining a table, a shelf and STUDIO accessories, it forms an arrangement that supports an individual work and lifestyle with its flexible character. STUDIO by Bene fits perfectly into the old building and complements it with reduced design and smart functionality. The meeting room has a STUDIO by Bene table of black Fenix; the vibrant red, yellow and orange chairs add strong colour accents to the space. The high back RIYA swivel chair (design: PearsonLloyd) in black, offers a certain “human touch” to the office with its rounded forms and intuitive functionality.

The control elements make sense on a tactile as well as visual level and are easy to operate. Adaptability is one of its great strengths.

INTERVIEW with architect MAGNUS WAGER

1. What is special about this building?

The house at Graben 23, whose mediaeval timber structure dates to 1496, stood empty and was at acute risk of collapse after decades of neglect. It is an important example of mediaeval carpentry and a formative element of a collection of buildings at the foot of Trausnitz Castle. Surprisingly, most of the original timber elements, the roof structure and even the original timber joints, abutments, etc., have survived. Although our architectural practice is highly experienced in refurbishing historical monuments, the concept development phase turned out to be much more difficult than envisaged. The building was in an incredibly poor state of repair.

2. Why did you decide to renovate an old building instead of moving into a new one?

Our architectural practice specialises in the refurbishment of historical buildings, so what could be more appropriate than to choose a historical building as our future home? We were able to preserve a virtually unsalvageable wooden house of mediaeval construction.

3. What were the major challenges during the refurbishment of this building?

Work on the building actually commenced in February 2018. The roof had already been exposed and covered with sheeting in November 2017, and additional loads removed from the house to prevent it from caving in. Steel beams were installed in the street area. Columns were erected on these to prevent the house from collapsing. During the actual restoration, the building was raised by up to 75 cm on one side. The spaces between the beams and the remaining layers of plaster as well as the remains of the masonry from the 17th century were saved and also lifted. As planned, it was also possible to largely preserve the roof structure. Both the mediaeval substance and the transformations of the 17th and 19th centuries were preserved. Mediaeval details were maintained with the help of a restorer, and the historic lime coatings and loam layers were restored. All windows, doors and stairs that were still usable were repaired. The overall design concept connects the different elements and construction periods to each other. We moved into the spaces on schedule in November 2018 and started working here with our ten or so employees. The 520 year-old mediaeval wooden house with former cowshed was professionally refurbished after standing empty for almost thirty years, and is now full of life again.

4. Why did you decide to go with STUDIO by Bene as a workplace solution?

The overall concept envisaged a clearly identifiable separation between the existing substance and current built-in components. The very modern impression of STUDIO by Bene convinced us from the outset. STUDIO by Bene best met our architectural requirements. The contrast between the extremely powerful mediaeval elements in the rooms (beams/planks – ceilings, timber walls, loam joints, etc.) and the minimalist, modern furniture can be ideally seen in the design ideas.

5. What were your previous office spaces like?

Our office used to be in a former warehouse of a transport company.

6. So what is the difference? (Ambience, mood, ...)

That’s an interesting question. I actually see the commonalities more than the differences. We always understand our spatial environment as being something that gives us the ideal spatial envelope for our work: both for the intensive communicative interaction in the team, without creating irritating noise, and opportunities to retreat for quiet, concentrated work on one’s own. The wide range of variants of STUDIO by Bene has made it easier for us to thematically link the characteristically different spaces in such a way that the office reveals an overall design language in all of its individual rooms.

About Wager Gärtner Knoch

Wager Gärtner Knoch Architekten GmbH is a German architectural practice in Landshut, Bavaria. The team of architects specialises in the refurbishment of monuments and in buildings worth preserving.

© Wager Gärtner Knoch/Peter Litvai

Link to the project: www.wager-gaertner-knoch.de

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