Merck is one of the oldest pharmaceutical companies in the world. It’s headquarters in Darmstadt has been progressively remodelled from a production works into a technology and science campus. At the heart of this transformation is the Innovation Centre.
The main buildings of the new innovation centre are set back from Frankfurter Straße, providing the opportunity for the creation of a public square – Emanuel Merck Platz (named after the founder of Merck).
The landscaped square undulates across its 3,000 m2 of white concrete reflecting the internal spaces of the innovation centre. The interior of which is characterised by the unfolding of a continuously flowing spatial structure. Bridge-like connections diagonally span the space between oval cores, linking the individual workspaces with each other.
The square is intended to serve as a public forum so high demands were set for the landscape architects in the quality of finish that was required.
Sculptured planting islands and a brilliant white finish provide the desired aesthetics. The concrete was ground and mixed on-site and the profile refined to create an undulating space. Due to the importance of retaining the brilliant white aesthetic for the concrete, an absolute requirement of no staining from the concrete reinforcement was of utmost importance. In order to achieve this, the outer layer of the reinforcement was hot dip galvanized.
The double curves around the planting beds were moulded and finished by hand. The attention to detail in obtaining the final finish was further emphasised in other areas in which a four-stage sanding process was deployed.
A final protective coating has been applied to the concrete to avoid scuffing from visitors and dirt landing on the concrete.