How Spacemaker helps MAAS & PARTNER envision future working environments

Spacemaker Team
Spacemaker Team June 24, 2022 5 min read
Rendering showing one of the main public spaces at rob17

Executive summary

As future challenges for urban city planning such as population growth and sustainability become more urgent, architects are tasked with not only re-envisioning how we live, but also how and where we work. For example, the future of work sees commercial districts connecting better to the local community and to the public, incorporating a more diverse range of functions. Spacemaker supported MAAS & PARTNER in Münster, Germany, to master this integration process efficiently.

Münster: a green city
Münster is a lively student city in the north of Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia. The city is renowned for the Prinzipalmarkt, St.-Paulus-Dom, the Aasee and the Allwetterzoo. It’s also considered to be a livable, green city where bikes, instead of cars, are the preferred mode of transport. 

As such, Münster also aspires to be at the forefront when it comes to innovating work environments and developing green and attractive workspaces for the future, as can be seen in rob17, a new commercial development. Designed by well-known local architecture office MAAS & PARTNER, rob17 “defines a unique urban design tailored to the needs of its users, reflecting the diversity and flexibility of today’s working world.” The 25,000m2 project transforms a disused site into a vibrant district combining state-of-the-art offices, exhibition space and laboratory capacities with inviting green outdoor areas, hospitality venues and a daycare center situated in an extensive park-like landscape. The inner site will be car-free, prioritising pedestrian and bicycle access.

rob17 masterplan

Combining modern workspaces with recreational green space
Rob17 is located south of the city center on Robert-Bosch-Strasse in an area characterized by industrial and commercial sites. Located near the busy city harbor on the Dortmund-Ems Canal, it will be developed into an attractive, waterside destination. Catering to the city’s growing demand for good office spaces, rob17 is conveniently well-connected to the Halle Münsterland trade fair center, the Münster-Süd freeway intersection, Münster-Osnabrück airport and public transport networks.

MAAS & PARTNER’S masterplan sets the buildings within an extensive park, which complements the modern working environment with generous space for leisure activities.  One of the main office buildings includes rob17.EINS, which features varying sizes of workspaces, a light-filled inner courtyard and two roof terraces. Another is the rob17.DREI building which offers large office landscapes with open, flexible floors and views on all sides.

The office interiors are spacious and light.

Strategically using Spacemaker
Firstly, Spacemaker was used at the beginning of the planning process to determine the amount of usable area. The almost instant results laid the foundation for subsequent feasibility studies. “To get a first impression of what is even possible on the site, Spacemaker is our first point of contact in the process,” says Sven Könning, Senior computational architect at MAAS & PARTNER. Later, Spacemaker’s extensive analytical capabilities were used to plan the park area, enabling the team to create the optimal climate, light and noise conditions of the outdoor spaces for future users. During this process, they were able to confirm their intuition about the qualities of the proposed design using Spacemaker. Additionally, the team used Spacemaker’s clear visualisations to effectively communicate with stakeholders and hence improve collaboration.
The facades of the offices have access to a good amount of daylight.
The view-to-area analysis shows that 23% of facades have water views.

“Spacemaker has become our go-to tool for all the analyses because it is faster, easier, and more iterative than other programmes in solar analysis, noise analysis, wind analysis, or view-to-area analysis,” explains Sven. “Other analysis options that Spacemaker continues to expand, such as the microclimate analysis… are simply tools that we consider very important and are therefore increasingly incorporating them into our design process.”

“To get a first impression of what is even possible on the site, Spacemaker is our first point of contact in the process.”

Sven Könning, Senior computational architect at MAAS & PARTNER.

Effective, data-driven analyses
For example, using Spacemaker’s analysis of sun hours, the planners were able to quickly determine that the intended location of the restaurant’s outdoor terrace was never overly shaded throughout the day, so guests will be able to enjoy optimal sun conditions at all times. Meanwhile, Spacemaker’s wind analysis was able to determine within minutes that the positioning of the buildings avoided unwanted wind tunnels through the park area; this analysis is normally a time-consuming and elaborate assessment. Similarly, Spacemaker was effectively used to analyze traffic noise and ensure that visitors and tenants won’t be unduly bothered by it. These reliable real-time analyses yielded quick results that helped the team speed up the process of making iterations and according to Sven, “helps us make evidence-based decisions in the design process.”

Sun analysis showing that the main park area remains sunny for most of the day.
The noise analysis enables the team to see which facades are most impacted by noise and decide which mitigation strategies are necessary

Complex analyses made easily accessible
MAAS & PARTNER is very much looking forward to upcoming new Spacemaker features in development, in particular analysis options that help boost the sustainability of building projects. That includes the existing microclimate analysis, which helps architects and urban planners prevent urban heat islands and solar panel analysis which helps estimate the amount of energy that rooftop solar arrays can produce per year, but also the operational carbon analysis which is in progress.

Across the board, Spacemaker impressed the architects with the high accessibility of the various features and the ease of learning and use. “I’m quite amazed by the learning material Spacemaker provides because you can learn Spacemaker in about 3 hours. There are lots of online tutorials and how-to videos. You can always ask the help desk and they are very responsive,” says Sven.

Therefore, Spacemaker will continue to support MAAS & PARTNER in their innovative future endeavors throughout all of Germany.

“I’m quite amazed by the learning material Spacemaker provides because you can learn Spacemaker in about 3 hours.”

Sven Könning

Main image: rendering showing one of the main public spaces at rob17
All images and drawings courtesy of MAAS & PARTNER Architekten mBB
Renderings by LOOMN for MAAS & PARTNER Architekten mBB  

Project credits:
Concept, masterplan and architecture: MAAS & PARTNER Architekten mBB  
Client: CM Immobilen Münster

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