Wulf Architekten – Seminargebäude Campus JLU – Giessen
The historic row of houses on Oberamteistraße in Reutlingen’s old town was to be renovated in accordance with the requirements of a preservation order, rebuilt and at one point supplemented by a new building. The Oberamteistraße was built during the 1st half of the 14th century, the town houses Oberamteistraße 28-32 belong to the oldest connected rows of half-timbered houses in Southern Germany. The planned new building is to take over all service functions as well as the static securing of the row of houses.
The design proposes a wooden half-timbered structure supporting the neighboring buildings and reproducing the once lost volume. The truss escapes direct view because it is covered by the roof and across the facades with a homogeneous layer of cast-glass plain tiles. Depending on the light irradiation, reflection and internal illumination, the truss is more or less visible, the building becomes translucent or reflective, glittering, corporeal and eludes direct capture. A building and yet not one. Just as with the adjacent half-timbered houses, the structure of the building, the half-timbering, is almost hidden, showing itself diffuse and nebulous or clear and sharp under certain lighting conditions.
Verdict of the jury of 15.12.2017: The authors use the task to propose a surprising, but on closer inspection very convincing solution. The two listed buildings are in urgent need of structural support. Based on this requirement, the designers developed a wooden supporting structure that secures the existing buildings. Convincingly and logically, this framework is further developed into a system that supports the building envelopes. Furthermore, the projection of the neighboring building is skillfully taken up with the same construction principle. On the one hand, this gesture succeeds in integrating the new house into the existing row, while on the other hand, the unconventional materialization of the façades with glass tiles creates a correspondingly strong conclusion to this row. In addition, this translucent materialization succeeds in translating and continuing the defining theme of the neighboring half-timbered houses in a contemporary manner. Only the outlines of the half-timbering will be visible. With this appearance, the new building appears almost poetic. The historic row of houses on Oberamteistraße in Reutlingen’s old town was to be renovated in a manner appropriate to its status as a historic monument, converted and at one point supplemented by a new building. Oberamteistraße was built during the 1st half of the 14th century, and the town houses at Oberamteistraße 28-32 are among the oldest connected rows of half-timbered houses in southern Germany. The planned new building is to take over all service functions as well as the static securing of the row of houses. The judges and experts agreed that the surprising and convincing solution of the first-place office represents an ideal combination of old and new. The new building convinces with its idiosyncratic facade of glass bricks and the wooden half-timbered construction inside, which is reminiscent of medieval architecture. This not only supports the sensitive old buildings, but at the same time creates an appropriate setting for the historic vaulted cellar under the corner building, which was only discovered in 2017 and no longer exists. The special interior space comes into its own through the glass façade construction, especially in sunlight, and could be presented excellently through Loomn’s lighting studies. The 3D visualizations created for the competition show exactly how the light irradiation affects it. Images like these thus make the plans tangible in advance and much more tangible for the jury. According to the jury, the new building has an „almost poetic“ effect with this appearance. The protrusion of the neighboring building is also cleverly taken up and supported by the construction principle of half-timbering. With this gesture it succeeds to integrate the new house on the one hand in the existing line, on the other hand creates the idiosyncratic materialization of the facades with glass bricks this line correspondingly strong finish. In addition, this translucent materialization succeeds in translating and continuing the defining theme of the neighboring half-timbered houses in a contemporary way. Only the outlines of the half-timbering will be visible from the outside. The careful renovation of the existing row of houses creates accessible museum exhibits whose visitors can dive deep into Reutlingen’s architectural and urban history.
The Justus-Liebig-University Giessen plans to merge the so far separated areas Philosophikum I and II successively to one campus. The aim is to create a lively university quarter that will also be open to the public for evening events. With the new central library and the graduate center for cultural studies, the first building blocks have already been realized. The new seminar building must be equally convincing in terms of design and function and should be clearly identifiable and self-confident in terms of architectural quality. It must also do justice to the special situation of its location on the central campus square and connect with it. The building comprises a variety of different uses, which must be harmoniously and efficiently coordinated. In addition to teaching and seminar rooms, rooms for cultural and humanities research projects are planned, as well as a conference area, service areas, a campus store, exhibition areas, lecture rooms, sports and exercise areas for university sports, and work and communication areas. For the structural planning, the state of Hesse held a restricted competition in which 18 offices from all over Germany took part. The procedure was supervised by Faltin+Sattler FSW Düsseldorf GmbH. The design by the architecture firm Wulf creates a transparent and light-flooded building through the façade of the solitaire made of glass blocks. In the center, a cross-shaped staircase, which serves as an access, lighting and communication point, forms an identity-creating meeting place.
The main idea is a building of contemplation and communication. A three-story structure is planned on the given building site, which is provided with facades made of glass blocks and thus appears very transparent on all sides. Other striking elements of the building are concrete floor bands and loggias reaching deep into the volume, which further structure the building volume. The building is entered via a generously proportioned entrance area, along the axis of which a cross-shaped staircase provides vertical access. Additional entrances are provided from the bus stop from the east and for delivery. Two necessary staircases on the facade to the east and west provide direct access to the office and seminar areas. Additional stairwells are provided in the interior cores – these frame the vertical cruciform staircase. The 1st floor is reserved for the seminar area. An exciting spatial sequence is formed by the interplay of distribution corridor, work niches and the loggias in front of them. The scattered light provides a differentiated lighting. The distribution of uses in the building follows the desired public character on the various levels. Campus life with its service areas takes place on the first floor, and the spacious foyer offers space for events and functions. The entire 2nd floor is reserved for office and third-party rooms. All rooms are located on the outer skin to the south-west with a generous loggia in front. The energy efficiency requirements of the state of Hesse can be met with the competition entry. Overall, according to the jury, the work represents a very good approach that impresses in its independence. In the interior, the distribution of functions and the organization are convincing.
The architectural office Auer- Weber has commissioned Loomn with the visualization of the designs for the competition. As a professional agency for architectural visualizations, Loomn visualized the design photo-realistically and embedded it in its potential environment. This allows the jury to get a precise and detailed picture of the project. Shown is the impressive front side with the cross staircase and the interior where the principle of the concise staircase shape is continued.