Adidas, reportedly, is on a mission to build ‘the best workplace in the world’. A new building by Behnisch Architekten at the 59-hectare Adidas World of Sports headquarters in Germany furthers this goal. At 52,000 sq-m, the Arena building features a first-floor welcome centre for visitors, and three floors of flexible office space for nearly 2,000 employees.

The existing Herzogenaurach campus already boasted a restaurant, gym, conference centre, and car parks, offering a mix of traditional office spaces and recreational programmes. With a campus abundant in amenities, Adidas turned its focus to the building of the Arena offices, aiming to create a community optimized for both individual and team work.

Top: The blue accents and pale maritime pine in this interior references the clear blue skies and sandy beaches of Los Angeles. | Middle: An industrial New York identity is achieved through yellow colour accents and metal details; Three levels of workspace are supported on pilotis. | Bottom: The atrium functions as Adidas' welcome centre as well as the entrance for office space on the upper floors.

The building’s offices are best described as villages within the (campus) village. A piloti-supported atrium invites both visitors and employees into its glazed welcome centre. Employees follow screens projecting Adidas-curated animations to the central atrium. Here, a dramatic floating stair leads employees to three levels of workspace above. Hoping to encourage camaraderie like that in a small town, Behnisch Architekten designed each floor with its own ‘main street’ – each street leads to its own ‘community’ composed of working, eating, and socialization spaces. The range of workspaces is intended to accommodate varying employee needs at any given time.

Layout division was the main strategy the practice employed to boost user autonomy while simultaneously encouraging interaction. Six global cities were selected, each with strong relationships to the Adidas brand: Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York, Shanghai and Paris. Each of the six communities in Arena is coupled with one of these metropoles, and has received an interior treatment reflective of the urban environment in reference.