April 12, 2018
This Coworking Space Sits Within an Old Church-Turned-Office
DigitalHUB Aachen, in western Germany, converted a deconsecrated church into a coworking space that provides offices and connectivity services for start-ups and midsize companies.
From Apple and Microsoft to Facebook and Google, the U.S. has hatched many of today’s leading technology brands and household names throughout the world. One would be hard pressed, however, to name a European tech company with this kind of global reach, but now the European Union is attempting to change this: In the past few years, member countries have been developing their own Silicon Valley–esque hubs, one of which recently opened an incubator in an unusual location—a 100-year-old church.
DigitalHUB Aachen, in western Germany, converted the deconsecrated St. Elisabeth Church into a coworking space that provides offices and connectivity services for start-ups and midsize companies developing digital business models. Many features of the dramatic structure—soaring vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows—remain, but new furnishings have replaced the pews and pulpit.
Local furniture dealer Mathes Aachen led the design and specification for the space’s various zones. The revamped nave accommodates up to 100 workers in meeting rooms and at rentable desks, among them Vitra’s Hack workstation, which can be easily moved and reconfigured. Meanwhile, custom-built benching tables on casters lining the central aisle are quickly stowed away when church events are held. Spaces at either end of the nave, including the apse, function as lounge and café areas. Here, Koleksiyon’s Dilim sofas and Suri poufs inject pops of color, help dampen sound, and, with their shapes, reference old wooden church stalls. Other familiar furniture brands that figure prominently include Coalesse, BuzziSpace, Wiesner-Hager, Profim, and Steelcase.
“We searched for products that meet the requirements of professional offices as well as suit the needs of the young and hip coworking clientele without neglecting the church as a special place,” says Mathes project manager Wolfgang Körner. Indeed, the converted sanctuary indeed forms an inspiring and fashionable setting ready to foster the next generation of innovators.
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