QUATERTOWER, TIMBERTOWER, AUGSBURG, GERMANY
Location: Augsburg, Germany
Client: MILLENIUM BUILDING Quatertower GmbH
Architect: SPANS associates
Concept Engineer: SPANS associates
Type: Living, Offices
Stage: Competition - Anerkennung Shortlisted
Design and Concept
City landmark and signal building
Augsburg is Germany's third oldest city, founded in 15 BC by the Romans. It has a rich architectural centre: its skyline is determined by the horizontality of the building’s roofs and by the verticality of the churches clocktowers. The Quatertower project is positioned at the close periphery of the old city and at the proximity of the Textile and Industrie Museum (TIM - “Staatliches Textil und Industriemuseum”), established in a former worsted spinning mille. The museum is an anchor point on the European Route of Industrial Heritage and recalls Augsburg thriving textile industry during the nineteenth century. From that heritage, Augsburg keeps being a vibrant industrial city. The Quatertower project aims at being a landmark of Augsburg´s peripheric centre. It injects a new sign into the urban landscape of city. It adopts an unexpected form; and as such it creates a visible recognisable identity. Its pivotal urban position drives and suggests this circular form of the building. The cylinder is creating a signal, vortex, point of reference and gateway between the old city and the TIM. The old city church towers, the TIM chimney and the Quatertower project are vertical identification that dialogues with each other and form a network above the building roofs levels. They belong to the same building topology: vertical and non-orthogonal elements.
City re connection and bridging opportunity
The Quatertower project is at the cross over between various traffic flows at the periphery of the city. The site is along the “Nagahama Alle” main road attracting peripheric traffic in the North South axis, which cuts off the West- East pedestrian path between the historical protected city centre and the well visited TIM museum. The tower is an opportunity to bridge the footpath and get a urban reconciliation on the West East axis. Therefore, it is suggested to develop along the main building a public footpath that would reconnect, regenerate, and relink the two part of the city directly. It would put the tower as a milestone and a point of reference. The cylinder-based geometry facilitates orientation and flow connection. The open café at the ground floor is envisaged to be a meeting point and is an extension to the garden landscape space.
Materiality and Construction
Weaving reference and timber carpentry tradition
The entire structure and secondary structural elements are made of timber. It aims at being ultimately performant and efficient and refers to the weaving process displayed in the TIM museum. The lightweight façade contrasts with the relative standard monolithic surroundings and does an iconic dynamic design. The external timber lattice primary structure is designed to be a unique and original system that would participate to move the state of the art of the use of timber in high rise buildings. It does as well refer to a deeper sense tradition, art & craft: it is a subtle and implicit connection to the weaving technic knowledge. The use of timber is seen as a connection to natural materiality, to carpentry and traditional construction system.
The superstructure is entirely constructed from Timber CLT structure. The core, floor plate and external light façade are the main structural components with compliance to fire safety resistance regulation, and enable off site preassembly. The façade lattice is working at its best capacity creating an efficient and minimalist structure. The spiralling structural elements is working together with vertical diagrid to form a rigid torsional basket a unique and continuous structure. The substructure is made of a one level underground concrete structure, including retaining wall and underground slab.
Smart living and flexible architecture for long term adaptation
New smart technologies to interact with the built environment and control consumptions
The Quatertower opens up a new way of thinking, and aims at being a cutting edge and smart living a question. As a statement: “We need to question the culture of waste and shift our priorities!“. Building with local resources and the integration of passive solutions are amongst the solutions to respond to site and climate specificities. New smart building technologies enable us to interact, sense and communicate actively with our built environment and certainly impact positively the long-term scale”. New smart living technologies have a huge potential to connect all the buildings services and reduce operation cost and maintenance. It would simplify the way we interact with the building and the information we get from our own interaction at a daily basis. Consumption of energy, quantity of light, water, electricity, utilisation of solar panels, security enhancement. It is target to limit and avoid any fossils energy. To optimise the efficiency and get real time feedback of the building as a living body.
Flexible construction and allowance for future change of programme
The Quatertower is not designed for a short and mid-term perspective but is seen as a long term investment, use and life cycle. Every new type of building is to be seen in a bigger picture critically beyond the narrow object so that we ask ourselves about the ecological consequences. We need to integrate flexibility in the geometry, the load capacity so that it can operate with different type of programme. A future change of programme, ownership is to be integrated from the beginning to avoid abortive work on the structure, necessary alteration of services and capacities. It would have a long-term cost efficiency.
Sustainability concepts essence: energy, efficiency, soundproofing and BREEAM targets
The project utilises ecological heating and cooling (geothermal) and regenerative power generation in multifunctional modes. The ventilation is designed to be hybrid. The machine basic ventilation, combined with individually adjustable window ventilation. It does consider high thermal insulation of the building envelope (winter / summer) and energy efficiency of the building technology. In addition to the winter and summer thermal insulation, the façade elements also make an active contribution to noise reduction due to the high traffic roads. Sun energy aims to be utilised through photovoltaic panels installed on the roof areas and participate to the energy system. The rain water is as well stored in the basement and used.
The project highly considers healthy building materials, including a pollutant check of all substances.
It aims at being a sustainability research step in the use of timber in medium size and high-rise buildings. The building is designed so that the materials used can be recycled to a high quality. This makes the building a resource depot for future generations.