Gerber Architekten, Dortmund (Germany)
Tönnishof is an elegant-sounding name that evokes images of this former estate, which was managed by the Tönnis family until 1977. Today, Tönnishof is home to the offices of the renowned Dortmund architecture firm Gerber Architekten. After purchasing the rustic, stucco villa, Professor Eckhard Gerber restored the building and began using it as an office and residence in 1979. In 1999, he also acquired the stable and barn structure, which is under historical landmark protection, and converted it into his studio. The old brick facades were returned to their original condition, and the interior of the building was completely gutted, resulting in what Gerber calls 'a new building in old clothing, a house within a house, whose new concrete ceilings hold together the old surrounding walls'. Fiftyfive employees work here on three floors in 1,250 square meters (13,456 square feet) of office space. And their workstations? USM Modular Furniture Haller. Because, as Eckhard Gerber says, 'it has been the most elegantly-proportioned office furniture on the market for many years'. He has been familiar with the system for about 25 years. 'As an architect, one simply knows USM.' Yes, it is that simple. Black seems to be a color, or a non-color, that is especially appealing to architects. Does anyone know an architect who does not wear black? Or, as Eckhard Gerber puts it: 'Black has the necessary neutrality.'