Electrifying: Transformer Station by Hild und K Architekten
Architecture: Hild und K Architekten
Location: Munich (DE)
In the heterogeneous surroundings of Munich’s Schwabing district, the new transformer station by Hild und K Architekten stands out. Starting in August 2017, this rough-looking purpose-built structure will supply the entire neighbourhood with electricity. Where significantly more space was once needed, technological progress has now made more economical building methods possible. This is why the new transformer station will have a much smaller volume than its predecessor. The newly created free spaces offer the possibility for new apartments and offices in the middle of town.
An interplay of rough concrete and gleaming copper
A harmonious interplay of rough concrete and gleaming copper characterizes the new structure, which was completed in 2016. Formwork marks, anchor holes and the unpolished surface all display traces of the manufacturing processes. The untreated, in-situ concrete sets a striking contrast to the red-shimmering metal. A relatively unornamented concrete body forms the background for staging the many elements made of copper sheeting. Many small and large components, such as downspouts or guardrails, are made of the shiny metal. Three openings in the transformer, clad in a reversible covering of copper sheeting, orient the main façade to the street. Even the air vents are covered with a grid of expanded copper. By using this valuable material, Hild und K create an analogy for the metal so indispensable to supplying electricity.
Concrete masonry along the upper edge of the building call to mind the battlements on a fortress. They are a sign of the structure’s turbulent planning history. The office level originally planned was supposed to be realized only in a second phase of construction. The architects’ pragmatic decision to cut off the building at the specified height led to its special look with improvised merlons.
This purpose-built project by Hild und K Architekten is more than a classic industrial building. The choice of materials and staging of technical characteristics cleverly provide visible evidence of the meaning of the structure.