Awarded with the german certificate for sustainable buildings. (German Sustainable Building Council - DGNB) German architects Gerd Priebe have completed a new office situated in the existing complex of medical equipment developers Saegeling Medizintechnik in Heidenau, Germany.
The curved shape of the two-storey building has been designed to integrate with the surrounding buildings and exterior environment.
Based on the existing small scale building structure of the neighborhood, the studio of Gerd Priebe Architects & Consultants designed an elegantly curved two story building structure that despite its deliberate unique form fits harmoniously into the existing city planning context. Aspects of sustainability were considered from the start of planning and played an integral part in the design. Integral planning, user comfort, visual comfort, acoustical comfort and thermal comfort were incorporated in detail.
The spacious and open character of the new building manifests itself on the east side where the curving glass façade envelopes a secluded outdoor space, which visually flows into the indoor space. The glass façade dominates and communicates a heightened sense of openness and light flooded spaces. Two functional areas divide the building. To the south, the reception area or “public space” welcomes visitors and leads them through a two story lobby which doubles as event space. Adjoining the area on the ground floor is a meeting room for clients and in the upper story a gallery is located. The “internal” functions are situated on the north side of the building. Here, individual office space as well as a copy room and a generous open office area are integrated into the design.
The curved glazing of the façade, with its low reflection surfaces and excellent light transmitting properties, provides working spaces lit by natural daylight. All light flooded interior spaces furnish a visual relationship to the exterior and the environment. The glare-free artificial lighting underscores the interior contours and illuminates circulation areas. A specially designed office lamp with direct and indirect lighting provides accents to individual working spaces.
Energy Saving Construction
Gerd Priebe Architects & Consultants designed a simple, yet energy efficient construction. Although the cubature of the building appears quite complicated at first glance, it was modeled based on eleven radii to optimize costs. Glass, steel and concrete are the predominate construction materials used to create a homogenous structure. The curvilinear shape of the building optimizes the rigidity and stability of the load-bearing construction and allows for a reduction in materials and wall thicknesses.
The fine, white stucco surface of the façade is juxtaposed with the light green glow of the convex and concave glazing. The curved, laminated safety glass, reaching up to 5.3m in height, was specially manufactured for the project in Finland. The glazing, the first of its kind in Germany, is sealed vertically without joints and is fixed with a horizontal cover strip. Further distinguishing the unique character of the curved plate glass façade are the individual sections designed with several radii. The exterior areas possess glass panes with up to two radii and in the interior areas there are panes containing up to three different radii.
In configuring an effective office and work area, the strict partitioning of user and circulation space has been disbanded with the objective of creating a flowing, efficient and practically support-free architecture. Internal office processes are mirrored in the building's structure in the form of optimized workstations, short communication and circulation paths as well as established visual relationships between the interior and exterior of the building. In turn, the efficiently designed office units enabled the expansive configuration of the public spaces.
The foundation of the previously demolished structure served as the foundation for the new building, which ultimately minimized tampering with the natural soil properties. A basement construction was purposely avoided so as not to disturb the water cycle of the bordering body of water. A filtrating trench under the green courtyard space slowly drains the water from the enclosed space and returns it to the natural water cycle.
The support-free spaces are centrally climate controlled with an innovative, four pipe flexible panel heating and cooling system. The system uses and reacts quickly to the heat input contributed by passive solar energy during the winter months. Capillary tube mats on the wall and ceiling areas eliminate temperature differences within the rooms
and provide a constant, comfortable interior climate. The strategically positioned window openings also contribute to the thermal comfort at the workstations. A modern building control system efficiently manages and operates the building's technical processes.
Life Cycle Costs
The architectural studio of Gerd Priebe Architects & Consultants was commissioned to analyse the operational, maintenance, repair and waste management costs of the building beyond initial construction. A time period of 50 years was chosen for the analysis. The analysis confirmed that a higher initial investment in the building's construction could effectively optimize the relatively cost intensive technical building equipment by prolonging its life expectancy.
To ensure an integral planning process, as the project's general planner Gerd Priebe Architects & Consultants, initiated cooperation early on in the planning stages with specialists in the fields of building physics, structural engineering, electrical engineering, technical building installations, fire protection, façade construction and landscape architecture. Our newly formed team cooperated on the design and construction phases together with selected executing firms meeting our prequalification. Gerd Priebe Architects & Consultants is a certified architecture studio which puts special emphasis on quality and project management. Individual orientation of the contracted firms and continual quality control guarantee the fulfillment of our high construction standards. For example, a blower-door-test combined with thermographic imaging ensures exceptional quality from an energy standpoint.