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Kempten, Germany

Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

On the left banks of the river Iller a new, highly efficient hydro – electric powerstation substituted an older powerstation from the Fifties by now supporting approximately 3000 households with 10,5 million kilowatt – hours of environmentally friendly power per year. Specialised engineering consultants had nearly finished planning the project, until the authorising agency demanded a design, that would fit in a subtly manner into the listed building ensemble of a former spinnery / weavery and the natural space of the Iller.

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

The starting point of the design considerations was the symbolic representation of the water dynamics, which change from a calm state at the water inlet to the churning and pitching of the water near to the turbines, before subsequently returning to a calm state after the electricity generation. Further associations included the river-washed rock formations in close proximity to the location of the power plant. The concept intended to connect the limit points machine room including turbines / generators and retention bar weir / rack cleaning with a continuous wrapping that dives underneath a historical steel – framework of a former bridge for wires, in order to avoid its total demolition.

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

The softly shaped wrapping nestles against the technical underground engineering parts and creates thus space for many connotations, among them a smoothed river stone, a frozen wave or a stranded whale and so on. It`s quite interesting that each observer is thinking about an own image for the building.

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

In close continuance of the underground construction the reinforced concrete wrapping is fitted on selective plate bearings with a revolving gap (2 cm) in order to compensate longitudinal deformation. In crosswise direction ribs stabilise the construction similar to the ribs of a boat, that is turned around. The structure that is like a skeleton generates a fascinating sequence of interior rooms, which are changing between dome dimensions and intimate sizes. All notches, that are technical essentially, were reduced as much as possible in order to reach a homogeneous appearance. Even a (via truck – mounted crane) complete removable component (lightweight concrete) in case of log jam disappears almost. The three – dimensional curved concrete nape was formed by rough planks in the interior and was protected by an economic spraying with gravel inlets on the exterior surfaces.

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

Thus manifold reflections were generated, creating different appearances according to the changing weather and daylight. During the execution ecological issues like the integration of a fish ladder were considered and also things as for example airborne and structure – borne noise prevention measures. The interior lightning percolates through gaps and run – in and run – out jaws towards the exterior and provides an impressive orchestration for the flaneur.

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

Despite the huge dimensions a very differentiated formation was created, that on the one hand assimilates the surroundings and on the other hand a self – confident building is now existing, that will get part of a later public `hydro – power experience`. Public frequency is the consequence of a new continuous track for pedestrians and cyclists along the former weavery and provides an greater impulse for the further contribution of the city towards its river.

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

Credits
Structural engineer (underground construction) : RMD Consult, Munich

Structural engineer (building construction) : Konstruktionsgruppe Bauen, Kempten

Consultant building physics : Mueller BBM GmbH, Planegg
Consultant sound protection (underground construction) : TIWAG, Innsbruck (Austria)
Consultant sound protection (building construction) : Tecum, Kempten
Consultant fire protection : IB Reiner Krebs, Dietmannsried
Consultant lighning protection : Kunisch Blitzschutz, Marktoberdorf
Consultant security and health protection : Harald Kopp, Kempten
Mechanical engineering : VA_Tech Escher Wyss GmbH, Ravensburg
Steel construction for hydraulic engineering : Erhard Muhr mbH, Brandenburg

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

Project Facts
Location : Keselstraße 14 a, D – 87435 Kempten / Allgaeu, Bavaria, Germany
Construction period : november 2007 – june 2010
Ground-plan area (gross) : approx. 1 040 m²;
effective area : approx. 590 m²

Cubature (wrapping construction) : approx. 3865 m³
 Project cost : approx. 7,8 Mio. Euro (gross), without powerstation technology

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

Awards:
german concrete award 2011
pbb german trade building award 2010
international liechtenstein award for sustainable construction in the alps (nominated project) 2010
german architecture award 2011 (mention)

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

Becker Architekten — Hydro-electric powerstation, Kempten

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