Until everything moves

(Design for a residential building), Wuppertal (D)

LAYOUT Regina Gebauer, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Faculty for Architecture

MATERIAL TECU® Patina_punch

“The project takes into account all decisive social, ecological and economic aspects with remarkable precision. It noticeably demands realisation, especially since all the prerequisites for functionality were worked out through sensitive research. A successful and important contribution to urban architecture of the future. It is also admirable how the aspect of aesthetics – especially in the design of the copper façade solution – is emphasised as the fourth pillar of sustainability.”

The Jury's statement

The project addresses the densification of European city centres in terms of sustainability. The design describes the densification towards the inside by adding a roof to a two-storey existing building in Wuppertal. The result is a proposed solution for how architecturally sophisticated architecture can present aesthetics as the fourth pillar of sustainability. 

The region around Wuppertal has a strong historical industrial character. From the analysis of the history and character of the surrounding building fabric, themes were worked out that particularly characterise the architectural design. Metal, movement, change. 

In addition to the idea of generating living space through the addition of more storeys, the densification towards the inside makes it possible, above all, to save resources. Thus, only recycled materials are used – such as patinated copper panels, storage windows, certified and aesthetic glass panels made from old bottles or surfaces made from used yoghurt pots – and joined together in a single sort using detachable innovative joining techniques to ensure a circular economy. 

The flexible structures of the interior spaces are continued in the surrounding façade, which encloses a private balcony for each minimal unit of use, which can be closed or opened via foldable sunshades made of perforated copper. In this way, the façade is actively moved and changed by the users. The roof and façade design are determined by a grid into which different panels are inserted as required: Patinated copper panels for closed façade and roof surfaces, perforated copper sheets for filtered light and panels that can be opened flexibly for unfiltered light incidence.