Schneider & Schneider Architekten
Swissgrid head office, Aarau
best architects 20
South of Aarau station, right in the centre of this part of town, the new head office of Swissgrid, as part of Switzerland’s critical infrastructures, had very specific architectural and building technology requirements. Due to the vertical orientation of the compact building structure towards the street, it confidently takes its place within the existing heterogenous building context. A generous inner courtyard has been excised from the building’s core. With its calm atmosphere, it provides an attractive outside space. The transparent façade bolsters the public face of the building. The defining three-dimensional kinked lesenes made of copper underscore that this is the seat of the operator of the Swiss extra high-voltage electricity grid. Although safety is, of course, «writ large» here, the highly specialised employees are given an attractive work environment with multiple meeting and communication spaces. The choice of materials provides a counterbalance to their technically complex activities and takes into account the need for comfortable surroundings. For this reason, natural materials, warm light and informal furnishings were chosen along with the deliberate use of colours. The green inner courtyard offers an inviting space for the exchange of ideas and collaborative work in the open air.