The proposal by LÜPS for the Energy Center, Woodchips Energy Plant at the the convent of arch abbey St. Ottilien aims to stand out from the existing, architecturally less appealing buildings. Above a massive concrete architrave block, a transparent facade arises, made from frame-less polycarbonate sheets, allowing a view onto the wooden branch-like structure inside the building. Lying in the north of the convent grounds, between agriculture and hen-houses, the energetic project finds its importance represented by the impression one gets of the newly constructed building. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Following the renewable Energy discussions, the convent of arch abbey St. Ottilien decided to convert their Energy gaining system, in order to heat the entire facilities (40 buildings), including the high-school, into a lasting, self-sufficient central biomass complex. The majority of the raw combustion materials are won from the convent-owned forests. Through he new machinery with a total power of 1.945 kWh, the carbon dioxide emissions will be decreased by 85 percent, in comparison to the previous heating through oil.
A vital element of the energy central is the burning flame of the fire. It becomes visible due to a light installation with dynamic in- and decreasing light impulses, which atmospherically express the functional objective of the building in the convent. Furthermore, it allows the building to be illuminated and distinguished also from far away at night.
The actual building construction was completed to a large extent by the monks themselves. An elongated roof, constructed of exposed concrete allows display boards to be viewed in any weather condition. These boards inform visitors about the individual energy system used in the convent and provides them with a view of the heating room. In addition, they offer information on renewable Energy resources for the future.
The neighboring warehouse stands in hierarchical contrast to the heating complex in both shape and volume. This is already emphasized through the choice of the outermost material. Up to 400 m³ of wood chips are stored behind the horizontal wooden bar structure. These are transported underground via a conveyor belt to the heating furnaces inside the other building. Large rolling gates allow the emptying of trucks directly into the warehouse.
The construction is not another anonymous industrial building, inconspicuous within the convent grounds, rather a both functional-energetic, architecturally and atmospherically pleasing corpus integrated within its surrounding. We want to make Energy visible. An understanding for this valuable resource is key to our concept. Modern combustion sites hide the central core of their purpose, the open fire, the flame itself. Our goal is to present this vitality of combustion to the viewer.
Therefore, we propose the installation of a dynamically changing light source, in form of a in- and decreasing vital light pulse, which enhances the architectural, atmospherical, and functional identity of the building at various points in time. On multiple intertwined, spherically organized constructions made of metal, energy efficient LEDs (1W) will be mounted as light point sources. Due to the different activation possibilities of the red-green-blue LEDs, the spherical form can be illuminated in different pulsating colors.
The specific shape of the construction can be described as a mathematical fractal, namely an L-system. L-systems are mathematical models, which graphically describe the growth of plants, such as the branching out of a tree. Out of the center ‘grows’ L-systems with 2 iterations. The logically constructed branching hierarchy is vital for the consequent electrification and branching out of the control devices. This also leads to a repetition of metal elements and angle measurements, which allow an easy and affordable production thereof. On purpose, the lights are kept visible and there is no attempt to hide the construction. Consequently, the light object clearly sits within the machinery and technical aspect of the building and becomes an important part of the whole.
Architects: LÜPS Location: Arch abbey St. Ottilien, Germany Light Design: Mauritz Lüps Collaborators: Peter Megele Construction Management: Günther Schmitt-Bosslet Structure: IB Heinrich Specific Planning: Wärmeversorgungstechnik; Ebert-Ingenieure GmbH & Co. KG General Contractor: Imtech Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG Energy Analysis: Forschungsstelle für Energiewirtschaft e.V. Contractor: Ditsch Bau GmbH & Co. KG Carpenter: Convent St.Ottilien Locksmith: Convent St.Ottilien Photo Credits: Thomas Huber, Hans Engels, Atelier Lüps Materials: polycarbonate panels, rolling shutters, LED light, conveyor belt Property Area: 5.275 m2 Usable Area: 670 m2 Begin of Planning: 08/2007 Completion: 09/2008 Awards: European Energy + Architecture Award 2011 Year: 2008