HELIX: POST Luxembourg makes way for renewal

Writer Samira Joineau
batiment helix post luxembourg
© METAFORM architects / Steve Troes

Across Luxembourg’s railway station, POST Luxembourg HQ experienced a 3-year long makeover, symbolic of its ambition to offer a ground-breaking and more sustainable work environment to 850 employees.

POST Luxembourg HQ has always been established in the Gare district. Deputy Director-General Pierre Zimmer highlighted how important it was to stay there as it represents a true meeting point, while featuring sustainability criteria. “[The latter] enabled us to successfully obtain the Platinum DGNB certification – the highest degree of distinction”, he commented.

To bring some context, the DGNB certification system evaluates the sustainability of either a district or a building. Its assessments revolve around three core sustainability factors, each with an equal weighting: ecological, economical and sociocultural factors. This shows that the HELIX building is actually eco-friendly, and was conceived to last. 

“Helix is our HQ for future decades” – Pierre Zimmer

A thinking that also brought the group to choose the local architect’s office Metaform Architects, over other international offices. Every choice regarding the new building was done meticulously, so as to give this unique aspect and align with POST Luxembourg requirements – notably the one to remain local. This is why every actor of the project is either based in Luxembourg or, for the lack of local resources, in Europe. 

“It represents a symbolic project in both the Luxembourg architectural development and the local know-how”Metaform Architects Co-Founder Shahram Agaajani

HELIX was made to be as transparent and open as possible, hence the choice to build elliptical stairs taking the shape of the DNA structure. For the record, it is this double-helix shape which inspired the name of the building: HELIX. Considering that POST hosts multiple different job positions, the idea was to find a way to favor exchanges – regardless of their job characteristics

Agaajani specified that the building was initially planned to welcome up to 1,000 employees at the same time, but POST Luxembourg decided to reduce this number to 850 to “free up spaces and create a true meeting and exchange place”. 

POST Luxembourg also made a point of honor to reserve the highest floors of the building to its employees: on the sixth floor lies D’Biblithéik, on the seventh the Switch – a meeting room open to a nice terrace with a view on the Accinauto – and on the last and final floor, a conference room in the cloud, as well as a large glazed D’Kantine and a rooftop terrace on the aesthetically attractive train station.  

On top of natural and sustainable material, greenery invites itself all over the interior of the building – especially developed for plant cultivation. This is notably emphasized by a 84m² vegetal wall, as well as the numerous plants, herbs and trees all across the offices. Among the plant selection can be found a rose bush – to preserve and expand the luxembourgish rose heritage

Also, different hives were installed to reinforce the bond between insects and humans, to sensitize POST employees to their life cycle, and to assure them that bees are harmless. 

The whole idea being to create a well-being space – just like home – and also to sensitize employees to respect nature and ecosystems. 

Besides, the installation of 800 m² of photovoltaic panels on roofs plus a 2763m³ ice-tray, combined with heat pumps, enable it to store energy so as to return it when necessary. This same ice-tray is also aimed to collect rainwater (so as to water plants) and gray waters. 

Overall, it can be said that POST Luxembourg, and all the service providers involved, succeeded in achieving this project of reinventing their Headquarters into a zero-emission building. A very innovative and pioneering way to build new with old.