The future is green: plans for the new ALDI North campus

The new campus of ALDI Buying in Essen-Kray is already highly anticipated. The modern building meets strict sustainability standards and provides enough space for all ALDI Buying staff – an important step towards further enhancing employer appeal.

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At the moment, the campus is still under construction on the grounds of our former distribution centre in Essen-Kray. Right next to it is ALDI Buying, which has been at this site for decades. In addition, offices in Essen’s Ruhrturm have been rented on a transitional basis for around half of the staff. In order to provide a long-term solution to the lack of space and reunite the employees at a single location, plans call for the new ALDI North campus in Essen-Kray to be completed in 2021. The total area is the equivalent of 14 football pitches and will provide enough space for up to 800 employees. If necessary, the planned building complex – which resembles the “A” in ALDI North when viewed from above – can be expanded to accommodate up to 2,000 workplaces. For the city of Essen, the project shows the close and lasting ties with the historical site in Essen-Kray. For ALDI Buying employees, the new campus means one thing in particular: a modern working environment that will enable them to support the Group companies even more effectively in future.

An overview of the highlights of the new campus:

Actively involved instead of just along for the ride

We want colleagues to feel comfortable on campus and enjoy working there, which is why they were involved in planning the new site from the outset. For example, we wanted to facilitate communication between departments. The plan is to place units with many points of contact in daily work routines more closely to each other. To this end, we surveyed all departments and included their feedback in the layout plans. Employees also had the opportunity in interviews and workshops to tell us what makes a good working environment in their opinion. Mobile working environments and options for formal and informal exchange across departmental boundaries were frequently cited. The architects took this feedback into account as well.

Interior view of the new ALDI North campus

New working environments

The new building will feature open-concept areas with plenty of places to work or meet privately that will provide for a real start-up atmosphere – the perfect environment for working effectively and fostering creative ideas. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, employees will also be able to work with flexibility across the entire campus. In addition to modern conference rooms, communication hubs will be available to them as well. These spaces are particularly suited to spur-of-the-moment meetings and spontaneous encounters. The campus also includes a company restaurant featuring fresh cuisine as well as a cafeteria. In order to facilitate a good work-life balance for our staff, we want to open a day-care facility on the premises even before we move onto the campus to provide care for employees’ children and children from the local area. We are also planning other amenities that staff can expect from a modern site, such as a gym.

Green, greener, campus

Sustainability from the outset: we are focusing on environmental protection already during the construction phase. As a result, we are using simple, but high-quality building materials that come mainly from the region. We are able to recycle the material from the dismantled distribution centre and reuse it for landscaping and underground construction . In many areas, we are being vigilant about the careful use of resources already during the planning phase, and we will of course continue to do so later when the building is in operation. For example, the campus rooftops will feature a sustainable design with green spaces. Together with geothermal technology, photovoltaic installations on the car park will help supply energy for the building. Charging stations to facilitate electromobility are also an important aspect of our considerations. All of these elements are key to realising the plans for LEAD (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and DGNB (Deutsche Gesellschaft für nachhaltiges Bauen – German Sustainable Building Council) certification.

Interior view of the new ALDI North campus

An eye-catcher in Essen-Kray

A spacious plaza at the heart of the campus is the perfect place to meet, talk or simply linger, which is possible outdoors as well, where staff will find a natural-looking water basin that collects rainwater from the roofs and lets its slowly seep away. The green spaces will feature indigenous plants and be a feast for the eyes in any season. As a complex composed of modern architecture, sustainability concepts and lots of greenery, the campus is sure to put its stamp on the Kray district – which the city of Essen also welcomes.

 “We are very happy that ALDI North has decided to continue its commitment to the Essen site and thus strengthen our city’s reputation as an attractive location for employers.”

Hans-Jürgen Best
City Director of the City of Essen

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