A 100% Recyclable Polycarbonate Envelope for a Bright and Sustainable Building

A 100% Recyclable Polycarbonate Envelope for a Bright and Sustainable Building

Climate and resource protection are some of the most pressing issues in regards to our future world. This is not a singular issue, but a complex one that affects every sector of humanity including mobility, architecture, sustainable living, and learning. There is a common misconception that building materials - such as polycarbonate translucent panels - cannot be sustainable. Plastic as a material has such an enormous impact on the world, and has drawn negative attention which makes it difficult to break away from the generalization that plastic is fundamentally "bad." Companies such as Rodeca, for example, in the plastics production space have engineered translucent building materials that are capable of enduring for many years as an integral construction material, and do not have to be quickly disposed of. As a producer of polycarbonate panels, Rodeca is always looking ahead to the future of sustainability.

Heiler Geiger Architects build a new daycare center in Memmingen

Architects Jörg Heiler and Peter Geiger are celebrating great successes with their recently completed daycare center project, Karoline Goldhofer, in Memmingen, Germany. They are currently being nominated for prizes, and have been selected to give lectures and talks explaining the complex and holistic concept which is the framework of the newly built daycare center. Karoline Goldhofer is a prime example of building and renovating existing buildings. Almost 80% of the materials from the existing site were incorporated back into the new building to achieve a modern, spacious, and ecologically sustainable building.

A 100% Recyclable Polycarbonate Envelope for a Bright and Sustainable Building - Image 8 of 9
Courtesy of Rodeca
A 100% Recyclable Polycarbonate Envelope for a Bright and Sustainable Building - Image 7 of 9
Courtesy of Rodeca

 A complex building concept leads to great success

Three parts of the building were exposed: the old pool, the residential building, and the garage. These elements were subsequently wrapped with a new translucent envelope made of Rodeca polycarbonate panels. This allowed for the building to be energetically reconditioned and upgraded to meet current sustainability standards. Despite common construction methodologies, a highly insulated building envelope is not the only option in preserving interior heat. Allowing the sun and its radiation into the building is an alternative approach that was chosen in the construction of the daycare centre. As a starting point for the building concept, the Alois Goldhofer Foundation selected the Reggio pedagogy - an educational approach that is a student-centered and constructivist self-guided curriculum using self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments.

The materials inside remained untreated and left as they were found, allowing the construction to be complemented by materials visibly remaining in their raw state. The building envelope that is made of 100% recyclable polycarbonate, the raw steel construction also correspond to ideas of sustainability and adaptive re-use.

A 100% Recyclable Polycarbonate Envelope for a Bright and Sustainable Building - Image 6 of 9
Courtesy of Rodeca
A 100% Recyclable Polycarbonate Envelope for a Bright and Sustainable Building - Image 5 of 9
Courtesy of Rodeca

A translucent building envelope - key to sustainability

For the building envelope, polycarbonate panels from Rodeca in crystal and opal were used. Crystal and opal panels have different transmission levels, which leads to varying light incidences in the building's interior resulting in diversified illumination. Floor-to ceiling windows and doors made of glass, embedded in the façade of the building, create an expansive view of the surrounding nature. The material gives the building a strong architectural impact from the outside while emphasizing the beauty of the building's surroundings on the inside. 

The cover provides additional light-filled space while also allowing Rodeca to renovate the building to be energy efficient without the use of insulation or other heat-retention elements. Instead, the envelope allows the history of the pre-existing structure to become visible. A 3D building simulation has shown that the upgraded building is already achieving 2050 climate targets, with just under 5 kilograms of carbon production per square meter each year.

A 100% Recyclable Polycarbonate Envelope for a Bright and Sustainable Building - Image 9 of 9
Courtesy of heilergeiger architekten und stadtplaner BDA

Click here for an exclusive interview with the architects of the Karoline Goldhofer daycare center to learn more about the design intentions for the project as well as the stunning results.

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Cite: "A 100% Recyclable Polycarbonate Envelope for a Bright and Sustainable Building" 06 Oct 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/969610/a-100-percent-recyclable-polycarbonate-envelope-for-a-bright-and-sustainable-building> ISSN 0719-8884

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