Location: Baiersbronn, Germany
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of Partnerundpartner-architekten
The Talstation (i.e. valley station) was planned by PARTNERUNDARTNER architekten as a reception building for the currently planned WaldLoft Hotel which will be erected on the Baiersbronner Stöckerkopf as a unique tree hotel and will feature a sports equipment rental and a bistro.
The Talstation’s main features are characterized strongly by its geographic situation between the stream and the road. Driving south-west from Baiersbronn, the valley opens up and the Talstation is located on one of the elevated fields. Just like a stone or a piece of drift wood, the environment seems to have left its mark. Towards the south the building opens widely by using a deeply-placed post and beam facade forming a roofed terrace. The fully-glassed front of the structure offers a view of the amazing panorama of the valley, soon also of the WaldLoft Hotel which will be situated 220 metres higher, at 770 metres.
The Talstation currently has two main functions: As a starting point for Segway tours, hikes and walks, which is why a sports equipment rental is needed; and as a bistro where local Black Forest cuisine is offered. The Talstation’s facility and service core separates the sports equipment rental and the restaurant area spatially but still creates a flowing environmental enclosure. The bike and Segway rental are situated in the right narrow part of the building, in the back area a small workshop was attached. In the large left part the restaurant with an open counter area is located, which will also be used as the reception for the guests of the WaldLoft Hotel. Due to keeping the entire housing technology and storage capacity in the attic, the groundwork could be reduced to absolute minimum.
The atmosphere and interior are kept minimalistic, rustic and slick. By using split-wood sliding shutters, an exciting play of light and shadow is created. Because of tha large amount of hard surfaces, the architects designed a special acoustic concept: A pattern of holes was cut into the three-layered spruce ceiling tiles, which hovers like a cloud in the guest room. Behind it felt was applied which absorbs sound and due to that, reduces the reverberation.
The thermal energy of the Talstation comes from an air heat pump system. It uses the sun’s heated outside air to heat the floor slab. All other housing technology is placed in the attic on top of the counter area. In summer, the solar radiation can’t force its way deep into the building, causing the energyefficiency to sink immensely. In addition, the cold air from the side towards the creek can flow through the building and protect the guest room from overheating by cross-ventilation. In winter the room is heated by the thermal activation of the concrete floor. Used air can seep through the skylights in the post and beam facade. The planned green rooftops will again reduce the loss of warmth via transmission.
The Cradle to Cradle-certified architecture office placed great value in using as little composite materials as possible to ensure a recyclable addition or reconstruction. From the edge of the steel-reinforced concrete slab renewable raw materials were mainly used. The wooden wallboards are planked on the outside with a soft wood fibre wall (GUTEX Thermowall) and filled with a blow-air insulation made of wood fibre (GUTEX Thermofibre). Thus, the Talstation can be seen as a pure wood construction. To that it was ensured that the raw materials are as close to the local region as possible – that’s why white fir from the communal forest Baiersbronn were used for the planking.