Subtropical Islands for Karlsruhe

The interior courtyard of the KVBW Headquarters building in Karlsruhe / Germany was designed to be an oasis for the people working there. The aim of the planning was to create a subtropical atmosphere with places to join, work and relax. To facilitate planting on top the underground parking it was decided to create raised islands with diverse levels of planting.

The position and shapes of green islands ensure privacy and view protection for all the users of this complex. The courtyards green rooms surrounded by lash planting provide a sheltered social space for tenants to work, eat lunch or socialize. Concrete seating walls around the planting areas, with different width, try to fit the work habits of people. Every day you can find here employees having a meeting with their laptops, meditating or taking a mid-day rest. Subtle illumination from the bottom gives the structure lightness and introduces a pleasant atmosphere in the evenings.

The subtropical atmosphere of the green islands is gained by using unique plants with interesting shapes of leaves and different shades of green. Forming the top-level trees with big, oval leaves (Magnolia, Paulownia) contrast with fine, elongated leaves of Phyllostachys or Dicksonia. Intensely green Sarcococca makes a perfect background for bright green leaves of Catalpa. Carpets of ground cover plants like Liriope and Helleborus are completed with fields of extraordinary looking, straight stems of Equisetum. These combinations of deciduous and evergreen plants with varied leaves, shades of green and delicate colour scheme (white and light violet) create a ‘mystical atmosphere of tropics’ in heart of building complex.

Website: www.wkm-la.de

Other designers involved in the design of landscape: slapa oberholz pszczulny | architekten

Project location: Karlsruhe, Germany

Design year: 2014

Year Built: 2018

Photo Credit: Nikolay Kazakov


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