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Architects have their day in the Stuttgart

News | May 1, 2009 | By:

The international trade fair for roller shutters, gates and sun shading draws wide interest.

Editor’s note: Every three years in Stuttgart, Germany, the convention center holds the largest European trade fair for the building trades of rolling shutters, gates and sun shading systems. The show, called the R+T (Rolladen + Toren) was held this February. On site to observe and report on the R+T “Architect’s Day – Architects in Dialog” session was architect Gerd Schmid.

Under the title of “Too Much Heat Inside the House,” architect Markus Hammes, principal of hammeskrause architekten in Stuttgart, Germany, began a day-long series of talks on issues of concern to architects. Hammes traced a historical evolution from the 13th century alchemist’s kitchen to the highly installed biomedical laboratories of today. He stressed that today new concepts have to be developed on an interdisciplinary basis. “The aim should be to achieve an open and communicative atmosphere between the laboratories and research departments,” he said. Hammes focused on sustainability, demonstrating this by means of his firm’s planning for the Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie des Alterns in Cologne (scheduled completion 2012) and the sought-after seal of quality: Nachhaltiges Bauen (sustained building).

With his example of the planning for the Centre for Free-Electron Laser in Hamburg (scheduled completion 2011), Hammes reported about energy reserves in modern buildings with highly installed laboratories. After performing a building simulation of the Hamburg Centre, Hammes chose to use ETFE cushions over the central atrium. These cushions permit the degradation of heat reserved overnight because of their infrared permeability.

The second lecture, by Kai Bierich, professor and partner of wulf & assocates architekten-gmbh also in Stuttgart, came under the rubric of “en face: Thoughts about the Design of Façades.”

Bierich, the architect of Stuttgart’s new tradefair facilities (where R+T is held) reported on the unusual placement of the fair’s buildings and the multistorey car park above the motorway trail. He showed the logistical advantage of the terraced hall arrangement that follows the topology of the sloping Filder site and gave a perspective of the future connection of the fair with the ICE (high speed) train connection proposed between Stuttgart and Munich. With a special focus on the roof, Bierich showed the opportunities for sustainable design improvements in the often neglected design of the “fifth façade” (roof) and demonstrated how the roof area of the fair in Chongquig (China) became an exemplar.

In his talk “Light Ideas,” Jörn Scholz of Auer + Weber + Assoziierte (AWA), discussed AWA’s up-to-date projects with a focus on daylight illumination, shading and darkening. Scholz described his work as “pure pleasure.“ He talked about the enlargement of the old town hall in Pforzheim where, in spite of an addition to the building, a drawn-in luminous ceiling in the courtyard makes the historical building portions inside still readable. His effort to reconcile the building mass of the ECE-Stadtgalerie in Passau with the street architecture that is divided into small sections by different semitransparent facings is remarkable. Finally, Scholz showed the reef-able dome shading of the ESO Hotels in the Chilean Atacama desert in which the latest James Bond movie, A Quantum of Solace, was shot. No light is allowed to escape from the hotel and cause light pollution during the night so any observations of the southern sky with a telescope is not disturbed.

The R+T show had 100.000m3 of exhibition area in nine halls, 750 exhibitors, and drew 60,000 visitors.

Gerd Schmid is an architect and founding principal of formTL, an engineering and architecture firm based in Stuttgart, Germany, with a special focus on the design of air-supported fabric structures.

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