Heilbronn, Germany | Completed 2007
Urban Live work. The impetus for this project was to rethink the urban block typology. Our task was to develop a building that allows for cycles of change throughout its existence. The structural system and the technical services are considered to be the spine with the most permanence. Additionally, the room heights were set to 3.00 meters, in order to be flexible for different uses. Although flexibility was a major issue, individuality and character of space were considered to be equally important. In the task of designing a building for a new kind of neighbourhood, one which welcomes difference and commonality, different spatial qualities are needed. The horizontally oriented building along the train track allows for larger office layouts, but can equally well be subdivided into small units due to the layout of the service core. The program change happens horizontally with alternating living and working floors. The apartment floor negotiates the building depth, related to office space requirements, with a terrace around the building. The second building is organized differently: the apartments face the garden, and towards the street are the office spaces. A cafe/wine bar at the ground level provides an ideal meeting place for residents and guests.
Architectural Concept: Identity of Place The new cone of vision created as a result of the new streetcar tracks heightens the exposure of the southwest corner. The two new buildings are sitting on a shared platform, which is elevated at the southeast corner. Both buildings engage in a dialogue with each other through form, material and the environment. The horizontal facade’s articulations along the streetcar line allude to the movement of the passing trains. The smaller building, an entry point to the calmer neighbourhood, suggests with its vertical bands the halting of a train. Approaching the project by train, one believes the two buildings are equal in size. It is only when passing by that the horizontal facade bands appear to stretch with the movement.
Much like landscape, the black basalt lava stone base on which the two buildings sit folds itself up and integrates with the building facades, alluding to permanence of place and space. In contrast, the horizontally and vertically striped facades on the upper levels appear to float and allude to the dynamic nature of program. The striped facade took considerable time to determine. Different materials were discussed, from industrial glazing to recycled glass panels, perforated metal and a new type of stucco with a pattern. Bissazza glass tiles were ultimately chosen, allowing for individual patterning and light effects, thus supporting the idea of lightness.