Barkow Leibinger

Barkow Leibinger
Schillerstraße 94, D–10625 Berlin
T +49(0)30 315712 -0 F -29

Start-up Offices, Grüsch, Switzerland

The 3,850-square-meter Innovation Center – a free-standing pavilion with a tunnel connecting it to the existing factory – is located in the canton of Graubünden. The building contains workshops, offices, conference rooms and a cafeteria.

The design aligns itself with the history of Swiss engineering architecture. Some of the best examples of Swiss architecture over the past 100 years – tunnels, bridges, retaining walls, avalanche barriers, roads and ski tourism infrastructure – were developed as an answer to the radical conditions imposed by Swiss alpine topography. Typical of these structures are their dialectical relationship to extreme alpine landscapes.

Examination of the Graubünden building culture and cooperation with the Swiss engineer Jürg Conzett led to the incorporation of Swiss building techniques. The significance of the supporting structure of the building lies in the fact that it is intergrated with functional and planning aspects. The unity of space and supporting structure is as much an economical idea as testimony to the successful cooperation of architect and engineer. 

The building is organized like a house of cards with wall planes forming rectangular building volumes which rotate relative to each other forming terraces and cantileevers. What seems at first like a playful stacking arrangement of building blocks actually offers essential functional advantages; producing protected entrance spaces under the cantileevers or garden terraces above. The supporting structure that enables these cantileevers and stacking of volumes possible utilizes the monolithic interplay of concrete wall plates planes and ceilings, resembling hollow box beams. This principle is economically efficient in the sense of utilizing exterior and core walls and ceilings for support without the necessity for interior structural supports. 

Project Information

Architects — Barkow Leibinger, Berlin, Frank Barkow, Regine Leibinger


Team — Anne Marie O'Connor (Projektleitung Entwurf), Ariel Huber, Oliver Neumann, Roger Schaerer, Reto Pedrocchi, Thomas Strebel, Esther Righetti, Larissa Eichwede, Marlen Weiser, Christina Lill     



Shops, Offices, Cafeteria, Kitchen 



Gruesch, Switzerland



3.850 sqm 






2003  Business Week, Architectural Record Good Design is Good Business Award




Construction Management

AVES Architekturbüro AG, Chur    


Structural Engineer

Conzett, Bronzini, Gartmann AG, Chur      


Mechanical Engineer

H.L. Züst-Stock, GrüschLippuner AG, St. Gallen 


Electrical Engineer

Brüniger & Co. AG, Chur, Schweiz 


Landscape Architect

Büro Kiefer, Berlin