by Gerry Mak in Architecture on Monday 26 April 2010

The striking new building that houses the Unilever Headquarters for Northern Europe in Hamburg, Germany, is an attempt by the company to put sustainability at the forefront of their identity. The structure, designed by Benisch Architekten, consumes less than 100 Kwh/a m² of energy, and features a transparent “outer skin” to minimize heat gain from the sun and wind effect from the adjoining river.

The layout of the building aims to be like a stacked, ‘vertical village’ with various distinct paths that converge on town center-like meeting areas, bridges, and food courts, encouraging employees to interact in the open, spacious interior. Still, one wonders how a company whose primary line of products includes petroleum jelly and other synthetic substances packaged in plastic, can claim to take sustainability seriously.