The Glasbau Seele company is one of Germany’s leading fabricators of glazed enclosures. The company is based in Gersthofen, Bavaria, where production and administration facilities are located. The current facilities require phased expansion and Ian Ritchie Architects won a competition against 5 other international architects to develop a site strategy and building design for 30,000 m2 of production, storage and administration facilities linked to the existing buildings.
The design of the building developed from notions relating to environmental protection (the canopy) and security (the fence).
The structure consists of trapezoidal beams supported by columns at 24 m c/c spanning east-west. The roof canopy is formed by 0.9mm stainless sheet supporting insulation and finishes which is suspended between the beams naturally adopting a catenary curve. Wind uplift and vibration are controlled by adding mass to the roof at specific locations and tuning the edge conditions.
The vertical enclosure elements are supported by a steel framework which cantilevers from the ground and does not engage the roof structure. The enclosure elements are either full height clear glass panels or a translucent block (currently under development) formed of fused waste glass which has excellent insulating properties.
The large scale of the building is periodically broken down by administration buildings which are building forms generated from spherical geometries.
The competition entries were exhibited at the Aedes Gallery, Berlin and a softback book of the schemes was published by Seele/Aedes.