Arne Jacobsen Building in Mainz-Hartenberg-Münchfeld
The Arne Jacobsen Building is an office and warehouse building in Mainz, the capital of Rhineland-Palatinate. It was designed and built in international style by the Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen on behalf of Novo Industrie GmbH (today Novo Nordisk) from 1967 to 1969. In the context of this building, Jacobsen was also encouraged to take part in the architectural competition for the construction of a new Mainz town hall; his model won.
The building is located in the district of Hartenberg-Münchfeld opposite the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz on Saarstraße/L 419. On the western side, the property is bordered by Kantstraße, and in the eastern area by the International Study College of the Johannes Gutenberg University. There is a parking lot in front of the site with a tree and shrubbery grid.
After the Treaty of Rome came into force, Novo Industrie GmbH took over the independent representation of its products in Germany on 25 January 1958. Previously, the company had been represented in Germany by Boehringer Ingelheim (C. H. Boehringer Sohn). After a few years at Römerwall in Mainz, a considerable expansion of the premises became necessary. Planning for the building began in 1967, when the managing director Oswald Jacobi commissioned Arne Jacobsen to plan the company building as a warehouse, packaging and administration building. According to Novo’s specifications, a timeless commercial building was to be created that would also serve as an ambassador for Danish design.
When the contract was awarded, the basic dimensions of the building had already been determined by the client and the urban planning department. Jacobsen designed the building in reinforced concrete skeleton construction with a louvered, light grey curtain facade made of fibre-plastic composite. The elongated cuboid building is symmetrically structured by two narrow circumferential window bands with shading slats in front. The skylight function of the lower window band serves to illuminate the lower rooms, which is why they are set very high. The upper window band is at parapet height; this is where the administrative rooms were located. The window bands emphasize the horizontal orientation of the low-rise building. A third window band as a separation to the basement makes the building appear to float. The windows are designed as horizontal sliding windows.
The restrained formal language of the International Style shows clear references to the production buildings for the NOVO Industri A/S headquarters in the Copenhagen suburb of Bagsværd, also planned by Jacobsen together with Otto Weitling, which were realized between 1966 and 1969.
On the narrow south façade of the building facing Saarstraße, an advertisement with the NOVO logo was mounted on the left. In front of the right frontage there were originally two free-standing chimneys, but they no longer exist today.
The building received the BDA Architecture Prize Rhineland-Palatinate in 1972 for remarkable achievements in the field of architecture and urban development in Rhineland-Palatinate.
For the interior of the commercial building, the architect designed various objects such as ceiling lamps and door handles, which are characteristic of Jacobsen’s subtle architectural orientation.
For the lobby’s furnishings, he used circular, functionalist panel walls of pine, rosewood and wenge, as well as green marble. However, due to a relocation of the original entrance by a few meters to the south, this furnishing was already abandoned before the sale of the building in 1993.
According to Jacobsen
Since its completion, the building and its furnishings were subject to design and structural changes. After Jacobsen’s death, the Mainz architect Grüneberg was commissioned to look after the building until it was altered. After an expansion of the office space to the ground floor in 1990, the offices there were objected to by the trade supervisory authority in accordance with the workplace ordinance. An application for exemption had to be made in order to retain the window arrangement. As the building had become too small for use in the original sense, it was sold by Novo in 1993. After changing owners, it is now owned by Bausparkasse Mainz (BKM) whose head office is located in the immediate vicinity.
– Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
- denkmal!modern architecture of the 60s | rediscovery of an era pdf 5 MB
- Novo Nordisk celebrates 50th anniversary in Germany(Memento of 7 January 2012 in the Internet Archive) (PDF; 46 kB)
- Conversation with Oswald Jacobi, former Managing Director NOVO Nordisk Germany, with Christof Kullmann on 18 July 2003 (transcript in: files of the City of Mainz, Amt 15, 1540 20 H Ka 2)
- Carsten Thau, Kjeld Vindum: Arne Jacobsen. Danish Architectural Press, Copenhagen 2001. 560 p., 1200 ill., p. 453
- Reference on the page of(Memento of 4 January 2009 in the Internet Archive) Dissing + Weitling
- Files City of Mainz, Office for Monuments and Redevelopment (Amt 15), 15 40 20 H Ka 2
- Application for exemption in accordance with § 4 of the workplace guidelines, letter from NOVO Industrie GmbH No. 63-20095/90. In: Files of the City of Mainz, Building Supervisory Office (Amt 63)