Construction has started on the redesign of an energy storage tower by LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architects) for Stadtwerke Heidelberg (SWH) in Heidelberg, Germany. The updated facade of the 56-meter cylindrical tower and design of an adjacent park are part of an initiative to create a sculptural landmark and symbol of sustainable energy for the city.
LAVA introduces a multi-layered facade that features 11,000 diamond shaped stainless-steel plates attached to a steel cable network that can rotate 45 degrees in the wind. According to the architects, a number of plates correlate to the number of households that will be beneficiaries of the energy. The geometries of the facade are inspired by forms found in nature.
Mineral wool panels in hues of blue make up the insulating inner layer of the facade, illuminated at night by low-energy LED lights. The light also reflects the actions inside of the tower, signaling the filling up and emptying of the storage tank. Movement, light, and shadow control the appearance of the tower, evolving through seasons or time of day.
Since LAVA won the competition to design the tower in 2016, one of the main developments has been the engineering of the building. Extensive solar analysis and wind tunnel testing were performed to guarantee the effectiveness of the design. The solar and wind energy produced will be used to heat up water and sell it as heat energy.
The park features differently inclined, intersecting circular paths around the tower called ‘energy loops’ that reach the edges of the 10,000 square-meter site. A spiral helix staircase positioned on the outside of the tower along with two elevators allow visitors to access event spaces on the roof level such as a bistro and open-air terraces. As Heidelberg’s new tallest building, the roof level offers panoramic views of the city.
LAVA’s design will transform the new water tank, a cylindrical-shaped storage centre, into a dynamic sculpture, a city icon, a knowledge hub on sustainable energy, fully accessible to the public, a strong symbol of the transition towards renewables, said Tobias Wallisser, director of LAVA.
Completion of the project is set for mid-2019.
News Via: LAVA.