Exzenterhaus, Bochum

Exzenterhaus, Bochum

A new landmark for Bochum

Bochum’s Exzenterhaus (from the Latin ex centro, meaning from the middle) is one of the tallest buildings in the Ruhr area of Germany. Standing at a height of 89 metres, the 15-storey structure is a high-profile location for offices. Its eye-catching architecture and unusual history make it something of a new landmark for the city.

The tower is built on top of a 22-metre-high cylindrical bunker that dates back to the Second World War. Completed in 1942, the bunker on Universitätstraße was originally designed to accommodate 520 beds and 52 seats. In the end, however, it gave shelter to more than 3,000 people during the air raids on Bochum. The building stood empty for a long time after the war ended.

The Exzenterhaus features a 15-storey structure built on top of the cylindrical bunker. The storeys are divided into three separate five-story segments and arranged to give the impression of being twisted against each other. The first segment faces south, the second faces the Ruhr Universität, and the third faces the city centre. When the sun hits the three segments, their opposing positions cause the light to reflect off them in different ways.

The entrance to the new building was cut into the concrete cylinder of the bunker. The ceiling of the LED-lit foyer is 5.9 metres high. Curved mirrors lining the interior walls make the space seem even larger than it is. Absorbers fitted in the ceilings and walls regulate the acoustics in the building. The Exzenterhaus is equipped with JUNG’s classic LS 990 switches, the colour of which changes according to the surroundings: white switches fit seamlessly into the white walls, black switches bring a fitting final touch to the offices, and switches in a special RAL 7044 grey match the tone of the concrete walls.

In addition to being an exceptional piece of architecture, Bochum’s Exzenterhaus also puts in an impressive performance when it comes to its carbon footprint. In order to reduce carbon emissions, the building uses around 90 ground probes to provide the heating and cooling it needs. Chrome strips applied to the interior panes of glass using thermal evaporation reduce the amount of heat getting in. They also illuminate the exterior walls and thus reduce the need for artificial lighting.

Pictures: Henrik Schipper

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