Innovation That Matters

Smart building

German building to feature integrated QR codes


The design for a new building in southern Germany features QR codes and a public walkway through the middle

Dutch architectural design firm MVRDV has unveiled its plans for a new building in the southern German city of Esslingen. The façade of the building, dubbed the Milestone, will include a number of innovative features and, according to MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas, it is designed to “… become a new symbol to reflect [the city’s] past heritage and future.” The building will be constructed of crystal rock-like glass blocks, designed to partially reflect back images of the city and its surrounding landscape. The blocks will stick out in some places, and push inwards in others, to create a pixilated, 3D appearance with an open public walkway right through the centre of the building. This walkway will extend up the building to a height of 40 meters, and will include stairs and terraces, allowing visitors to take in views of the nearby vineyards and surrounding hills.

The Milestone building will be located near the railway, on the site of a former freight depot and will serve as the centre of a new multi-use district. At ground level, the building will open into a public square. The upper floors will contain customisable office and living spaces. The façade of the building will have QR codes integrated on to it. By scanning these codes with a phone, passers’ by can learn about Esslingen’s people, landscape, and history – turning the building into an interactive library. The fritted glass of the façade will reduce overheating and will also contain photovoltaic cells for use in generating energy. MVRDV planned the Milestone to allow “interaction between inside and out, whilst reflecting the daily interactions in the square thus turning the front of the building into a new meeting point.” While at night, the building’s illuminated façade will serve as a beacon for Esslingen, to highlight its regeneration. Construction on the project will start in 2020.




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