Location: Wedel, Germany
Client: Wettbewerbsverfahren GuD-HKW Wedel
Date: 2013 Restricted Competition
Budget: Façade € 18 million, Landscape € 4.5 million
AZPML: Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Maider Llaguno-Munitxa, Pep Wennberg , Robert Berenguer, Ravi Lopes Calamita, Pere Raventos, Charles Valla, Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Manuel Eijo, Valle Medina.
Landscape architect: Rainer Schmidt Landschaftsarchitekten
Our proposal for the Wedel Kraftwerk is an attempt to resolve the conflict between the natural ecology and the manmade environment. The harnessing and deployment of energy and its intersection with the natural ecologies is perhaps the central question of the civilization we inhabit. It is therefore crucial for Vattenfall, a corporation that is vested in the generation and distribution of energy to address this question, not only as a technical problem, but also as an aesthetic and cultural subject. This project is aimed at providing Vattenfall with an aesthetic manifestation of a new integration between manmade processes and the natural environment. It would be a mistake for the facilities to appear as industrial facilities, emphasising their artificiality through the use of steel and concrete and sharp geometries. On the contrary, our proposal gravitates around the possibility to make the artificial as close as possible to the natural, by designing an envelope for the Wedel Vattenfall plant which will appear as continuous with nature, while being economic and efficient.
In short, we have tried to produce a camouflage strategy for the new plants, which we hope to convert into a giant topiary game, of a scale never seen before, a green mountain surrounded by dense vegetation.
Our first concept departed from the idea that we could produce a corrugated envelope to the new plant, made from creepers which could absorb a substantial part of the carbon emissions of the plant because of an increased surface area, produced by a corrugation of the green envelope. The green envelope will become a green mountain, a giant topiary, using the geometry of the future complex as a departure point and using corrugation as a structural device to stabilise the new envelope. Given that this green envelope will require some research in terms of its maintenance costs, our current proposal retains the aesthetic qualities of this concept and replaces the vegetation of the façade by a green textile structure. Our proposal allows for Vattenfall to develop research on the possibility of making the membrane literally out of vegetation.