Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Antivilla in Potsdam (Krampnitz), Germany by Brandlhuber
May 31st, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Brandlhuber
While at the former – first prussian, then nazi and finally soviet – barracks in Krampnitz nearby Potsdam war films such as „Enemy At The Gates“ or „Inglourious Basterds“ were shoot, they also were the setting of another drama that newspapers simply called „Krampnitz Affair“. The State of Brandenburg tried to cancel the sale of the Krampnitz Barracks when discussions about the too low sale’s amount started. A noisy public arguement between politicians and the investors who intended a large scale housing project followed and is without a decision so far.
While the Potsdam area lacks of flats, the area around Krampnitz became a villa settlement for Berliners that missed countryside qualities in the metropolis and advertisings for „Villas“ mushrommed all along the roads. One under numerous sites that were rededicated to housing area was the compound of former GDR publicly owned enterprise „VEB Obertrikotagen Ernst Lück“ that produced underwear at site.
The land development plan allowed three detached houses of each 150 squaremeters while the excisting buildings were way bigger then that. But while land around got more expensive each and every day nothing happened at „Ernst Lück“. The small compound had kind of its own „Krampnitz Affair“, a long going law suit between former owners who got the small factory in the confusing days after the GDR stopped excisting.
Property questions were not all solved when plannings for „Ernst Lück“ began but from the beginning it was quite clear that the excisting buildings should be keept instead of three new houses. And conversions should oppose standards, aesthetics and economical backgrounds of the „Villas“ around.
The former office and storage building of „Ernst Lück“ was selected to be transformed into a „Antivilla“. Its idea is to archieve this with only some small changes. Office walls were taken out, the rotten roof was worn out and a new concrete core contains toilettes, showers and a sauna that heats the whole building. Instead of the usual insulation procedure the goal of „Antivilla“ is to challenge standards.
Together with engineers Pichler a climatic concept for the building was developed that divides space with transparent PVC-curtains into differentiated temparature zones. Step by step the zones get colder the further they are away from the heating concrete core. So in wintertime it might only be possible to use the first zone surrounding the core while during the other seasons the usable space grows.
Copy + Paste: The second of the two main buildings used to be the knitting factory of „Ernst Lück“. From the beginning it was part of the plannings to work close with the architects that were assigned by the two new owners, not only for joint construction works. When this architects went on a one year long hiatus, the decision was made to takeover the plannings for the outer shell of the building. A large scale model was handed over to the owners together with a set of copied window apertures and the question „where do you want to paste a window?“.
Beside the two main buildings some shacks were erected on the compound. Those light-weight-buildings were in a devastating condition and obviously had to be disrupted. Opposite of Antivilla one shack at least had more or less four walls standing and therefor was, following the Brandenburg State building law, protected inventory space.
British artist Rachel Whiteread delivered inspiration with her work „House“, a concrete cast of the inside of an entire victorian terraced house, to save the excisting space by using the light-weight-structure as outer part of concrete-framework for new walls. All the attendant construction steps were done by a group of Markus Emde’s students from the University of applied sciences in Regensburg with Caspar Viereckel.
They planned „how to“ on site and implemented their considerations directly. After the hardening of the new concrete walls, the former light-weight-parts were taken away. Space minus the new walls was saved and the old structure was keept as cast on the surface of the new walls.