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Unique and super-efficient

124.88 meters tall, with a double glass outer shell: No one had ever dared to build a high-rise with such a façade before. What began as a bold idea in the 1990s was occupied in the Mörsenbruch district of Düsseldorf in February of 2001. Designed by Lord Norman Foster and the Düsseldorf architects Rhode, Kellermann and Wawrowsky the ARAG Tower has since dominated the skyline on the north side of the state capital as the tallest office building in Düsseldorf. But that is not the only distinctive feature of ARAG’s unusual Group headquarters.

Built for the future

As one of the most modern high-rise office buildings in Europe, the Tower was ahead of its time ten years ago – and still is today. High standards for energy conservation and CO2 emissions reduction were rigorously applied in building the Tower, and they remain a focus of attention today. To cite just one example: all HVACR equipment features super-efficient, state-of-the-art machinery and pumps.

Working on over six football fields

The gross floor space at Group headquarters is equivalent to six football fields. Distributed over 32 above-ground stories, two basement levels and an underground parking garage, it amounts to a total of 45,543 square meters. The Tower stands on a lot measuring roughly 20,000 square meters, of which 13,500 are covered by lawn.

Excellent energy efficiency

The ARAG Tower uses electrical power in an unusually efficient manner and has a very high overall energy efficiency rating, as documented by the energy performance certificate issued in 2007. Primary energy consumption is slightly less than one-third lower than the limit set by the German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) for new buildings.

A steep climb

620 steps lead from the ground floor of the Tower to the 32nd floor at the top – a great training course for the Special Operations Unit (SEK) of the Düsseldorf police force, which has practiced the ascent twice so far. The fastest member of the unit recently made the climb in a full set of gear in just under seven minutes. Those who prefer an easier way up can take one of the six passenger elevators, each of which hold about 13 people and travels at a speed of four meters per second. There are also two freight elevators.

Auxiliary emergency power system

The tank in the basement that supplies the imposing auxiliary power generator on the 30th floor holds 7,000 liters of diesel fuel. A second tank on the roof of the Tower holds 700 liters for use in the event of a power failure.

A Hollywood-style performance

ARAG employees felt like extras in a Hollywood film when a 40-member crew filmed scenes for the movie entitled “A Friend of Mine” in the Tower. Group headquarters provided an unusual setting. Shown in theaters in 2006, the film featuring such great actors as Daniel Brühl and Jürgen Vogel was a one-time exception – although other inquiries have been made. From time to time, the high-altitude rescue specialists of the Düsseldorf Fire Department rappel down the Tower façade like movie stuntmen.

Operation window wash

The roughly 5,200 glass panes in the double façade provide for clarity and unobstructed views from inside and outside the building. And all them have to be cleaned inside and out. Twice each year, two brave men spend several weeks at a time just washing the outside windows in the façade from a suspended basket.

A pleasant climate

The building climate is very good, both on the four garden levels and on all office floors. The building planners deliberately dispensed with central air-conditioning – partly in response to the wishes of the ARAG staff. Instead, windows in the double-glass façade can be opened to allow for sufficient ventilation. In addition, cooling ceilings and the room air-conditioning system ensure that offices are kept at suitable temperatures.

In good hands

The Facility Management Department is responsible for trouble-free operations, from building engineering to cleaning. The team includes four technicians who are constantly on the job in matters involving electrical power, lighting and heating. Besides servicing the five decentralized building engineering sections, they are also responsible for the roughly 15,000 light fixtures, all of which are equipped with energy-efficient bulbs.