After visiting Leica in Solms, the next day I went to Wetzlar to see how the new Leica headquarters at Leitz Park are progressing. Coming from Weilburg, I went through Braunfels with its impressing Burg Braunfels (Braunfels Castle) and then through Solms and on to Wetzlar. Driving past the large building of the former Leitz headquarters brought memories of past visits to Leitz in Wetzlar. These building now are occupied by Leica Microsystems, the former microscope division of Leitz.
Weilburg Marktplatz (Market Square)
Just a short distance from there I was at Leitz Park. The almost finished new building already visible from a distance. The road led to the large roundabout with the “Leica Globe” in the center. Leitz Park is definitely still a construction site, with only the facilities of Weller Feinwerktechnik and Viaoptic GmbH finished and occupied. Both companies are divisions of Leica Camera. ( see http://gmpphoto.blogspot.com/2012/08/leitz-park-wetzlar-progress-report.html.)
Even unfinished and without any landscaping, the construction of the new building has progressed to a stage where the looks of the finished structure can be clearly seen. It is an impressive building with a thoroughly modern architecture.
The "Leica Globe", view toward downtown Wetzlar
The architecture firm Gruber + Kleine-Kraneburg designed the new production, administration and customer care headquarters. It is expected to open in early 2014, with an area of around 27,000 m² (approximately 290,625 ft²). The new energy-efficient building will be home to openly visible production areas, the new Leica Museum, Leica Gallery, Leica Store, photo studio and a restaurant.
View toward the main entrance
View from Kreisel (roundabout)
The production and administrative buildings are being built to the latest environmental and energy-efficiency standards and will allow Leica to rapidly satisfy the demand for Leica products without the delays experienced in the past.
When visiting with Andreas Dippel, public relations manager for Leica during my visit in Solms, (see http://gmpphoto.blogspot.com/2013/07/my-visit-to-leica-camera-ag-in-solms.html) we briefly talked about the move back to Wetzlar. It was very obvious that the people at Leica are very enthusiastic about their new home in Wetzlar. His eyes clearly showed the pride and anticipation of the move. I asked if there were any plans for the facility in Solms. Initially is had been planned to sell the building, but considering the recent production shortfalls and the renewed popularity of Leica products, Leica is looking to keep the Solms building in case further production capacity might become necessary.
I am now looking forward to my next visit at Leica which will allow me to see and experience Leitz Park and the new Leica headquarters in their finished appearance.