© Jan Bitter

This project to refurbish and retrofit a 1980s office block provided a rare opportunity to thoroughly reuse an existing building. In particular, this involved minimising overall energy consumption and improving levels of workplace comfort and environmental quality. The complete renewal of the façade was used as an opportunity to give a previously faceless building on the city ring road an elegant and unexpectedly dynamic presence. The solid spandrel panels were removed to allow full-height glazing, and the building’s overall form was modified to conceal the formerly projecting staircases and to create a new, dynamic entity.

The new building envelope offers state-of-the-art performance in terms of thermal insulation, solar control, noise reduction and daylighting as well as natural ventilation of the offices. A pair of naturally lit atria have been cut out of the existing structure, enabling natural cross ventilation of the building as a whole and providing new spaces for internal communication. Circulation and orientation have been considerably improved by relocating the main entrance, freeing space for a wide, ground-floor gallery around the internal courtyard. These measures have also created attractive, suitably generous reception areas.

Taking into account its reuse of the grey energy embedded in the existing fabric, the new building achieves an exemplary energy balance. Its dynamic façades create a colourful body that uses the principle of kinetic polychromy to revitalise banal urban space and encourage people to perceive the city as a sensual landscape.

© Rainer Viertlböck
© Stefan Müller-Naumann
© Stefan Müller-Naumann


  • General refurbishment and energy upgrade of a 1980s office building


  • Münchener Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft Aktiengesellschaft in München


  • gross floor area: 49.900 m²
  • competition: 2009, 1st prize
  • 2011 — 2014

project team