Horizontal sliding wall – DEG Campus Cologne
“We decided to use the horizontal sliding wall by Solarlux. Its delicate aesthetic reflects our lighting concept, and at the same time the thermally insulated sliding walls provide a sheltered room to while away the hours in, even on cold days.“
Jochen Solbach, architect

The floating cloud

The atrium of the DEG headquarters in Cologne, Germany literally glows from the inside. This is thanks to a large glass canopy, which brightens the floor of the plaza and can even be opened up. The light that floods into the atrium illuminates the room units of the seven-storey building that are located here. In 2018, a new sculpture was installed to add the finishing touch to the plaza and reflect this theme of light and transparency: The “floating” cloud.

Open yet closed off, the space empty space is used as an event and break room for German development finance institution DEG. The moving canopy – which is an astonishing 25 metres high – is opened regularly, transforming the atrium into an airy courtyard. In order to create a sheltered space for the employees as well, the designers came up with “The Cloud”: a flexible, two-floor room-in-a-room concept that can be adapted to suit any situation thanks to a clever glazing solution.

DEG Campus Horizontal-schiebe-Wand

Making more of the space

The new project needed to fit in on both a visual and a functional level – a task that, at first glance, wouldn’t have seemed to leave much room for creativity when the DEG headquarters were built back in 2008. 
Today, the new, all-season dining room on the ground floor joins onto the cafeteria, which has a “floating” conference area on the top floor. Reminiscent of a cloud, this structure is characterised by rhomboid flaps on three sides, which can be rotated and opened along their horizontal central axis. In addition to lending the Cloud a unique, shifting aesthetic, these also allow those in the conference area to adjust the lighting to suit their needs and prevent others from looking in when privacy is required. 

DEG Campus Horizontal-schiebe-Wand

Floating cube

However, the cloud-like aesthetic of the built-in new build is not just the result of the flaps that adorn the exterior of its top floor. One of the key aspects of the concept was to make the sculptural addition to the building a floating element while at the same time encasing the cafeteria area – affectionately known as the “casino” – in a way that would keep it unaffected by outdoor temperatures when the glass canopy was open. It also needed to be possible to close off the space under the sculpture. The transparent glazing of the Casino area, which can be accessed form the ground floor, adds to the floating effect, and its versatility increases the impression. Thanks to the glass elements, the areas can be opened up completely on three sides. The trick to this is the recessed, V-shaped pillars, which do away with the outer edge while still providing the necessary stability. 

DEG Campus Horizontal-schiebe-Wand

The solution in detail

With its vertical profiles, the SL 60 horizontal sliding wall is a continuation of the visual theme of the building’s grid-like facade. The ground-floor space can be opened up by sliding the 36 glass elements symmetrically to either side from the central front point of the room. The elements are then stowed away in special “parking bays” behind each of the first elements to be swung open at the edges. Thanks to its high-quality aluminium profiles, the thermally insulated Solarlux system boast a Uw value of 1.51 W/m²K, despite having a building depth of just 59 mm. It is perfect for creating flexible, energy-saving concepts for indoor and outdoor use, like that used in the atrium in this project. Due to the continuous flooring, floor sockets were used instead of floor tracks for this project so as not to spoil the seamless aesthetic. The individual glass elements can be locked and bolted in place easily with just one hand.