dm Headquarters, Karlsruhe

Even those who only know the dm drugstore chain from shopping are aware of how it differs – in the way the space is designed, the products are presented, and the customers’ needs are served – from a great many other retailers: Customers are greeted by a bright and friendly atmosphere, a wide range of natural products and courteous staff.
For customers and salespeople alike: The individual is the focus of attention.

When a company of this kind decides to build new headquarters for 1,800 employees, it is necessary to think about how those qualities can also be reflected in the architecture. From our point of view, this can only be achieved by taking a thoughtful and respectful approach to the site and its neighbours.

Despite the cleft created by the autobahn, what one experiences when driving along the tree-lined road between Durlach and Karlsruhe is the green space that separates the local community from the city centre. For us, it was important to preserve this spatial trait within the urban landscape. For the architecture, this meant keeping the building height as low as possible. This consideration also helped the company to spread out the office space as much as possible by not stacking the offices, so as to fulfil the desire for a work environment with as little hierarchy as possible. Hence in this case, the urbanistic desires mesh symbiotically, as it were, with the spatial requirements rooted in the corporate culture.

The new corporate headquarters for dm–drogerie markt has been built on Durlacher Allee, nestled into the northeast corner of the autobahn junction.
Two plots were designated for the new facility:
The part of the property closest to the autobahn has double-height project rooms that also serve as contingency areas for office use and a green hill atop a car park that rises up to provide four levels of parking. Thus it was possible to implement the required ecological compensation measures while simultaneously establishing an effective barrier against noise from the autobahn.
On the eastern part of the property is the administration building, which has a honeycomb-like arrangement of spaces grouped around eight inner courtyards. The building, which has three to four above-ground storeys and one basement level, provides desk space for 1,800 people and also has conference areas and an employee restaurant.

From the entrance plaza, you enter the building through a double-height lobby that forms one end of the main access route that runs east–west through the entire building. At the opposite end of the main access route are the restaurant, a large auditorium hall and a second entrance that ensures a good pedestrian link to the local train station. As the primary circulation axis on the ground floor, the main access route also serves as the foyer and break area for the conference rooms.

The office areas, which are chiefly located on the upper floors, are accessed via four main staircases along the main access route. Additional stairs are placed at every second intersection within the building. In the immediate vicinity of the staircases, as central gathering points, are the shared support functions such as tea kitchens, communication zones and sanitary facilities.

When approaching from the east, you walk past the newly created pond and across the restaurant terrace, then enter through the dining area and continue along the main access route. Also adjacent to the entry is the large auditorium hall, which is designed to be used for a variety of events such as company meetings, seminars or conferences. The hall, which can seat as many as 260 people, and its adjoining ancillary spaces can also be used independently of the rest of the building – for evening events, for instance.

dm-drogerie markt GmbH + Co. KG, Karlsruhe

Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei, Stuttgart

Sophie Röcker, Peter Leidlmayer, Benjamin Berbig, Richard Scheele, Benjamin Mauritz, Andreas Ernst, Simon Scheithauer, Jean-Philippe Maul, Philipp Gantenbrink, Frank Bohnet, Ekaterina Volkovskaya

Project management:
fc.ingenieure Projektsteuerung GmbH, Ettlingen

Construction Site Management:
Ernst2 Architekten AG, Stuttgart

Structural Engineering:
Ingenieurbüro Dr. Binnewies, Hamburg

Controlling Engineering:
Ingenieurgruppe Bauen, Karlsruhe

Structural Physics:
ITA Ingenieurgesellschaft für technische Akustik mbH, Wiesbaden

Fire Protection Planning:
Halfkann + Kirchner PartGmbB, Erkelenz

Ground Surveyor:
GHJ Ingenieurgesellschaft für Geo- und Umwelttechnik mbH & Co. KG, Karlsruhe

Engineering for Technical Building Facilities:
Pfeil & Koch Ingenieurgesellschaft Beratende Ingenieure VBI, Stuttgart

Electrical Engineering:
GBI Gackstatter Beratende Ingenieure GmBH, Stuttgart

Kitchen Concept:
Reisner & Frank GmbH, Ingenieure, Unternehmensberater, München

Competition with invited Participants:
2013 – 1. Rang

Construction Period:
2016 – 2019

Gross Floor Area:
40.950 qm (administration building), 21.850 qm (car park/special use)

Effective Area:
24.050 qm (administration building), 10.050 (car park/special use)

Am dm-Platz 1, 76227 Karlsruhe


Stuttgarter Zeitung



Roland Halbe, Stuttgart
Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei