White’s proposed experience centre in Germany receives commendation

White has received a commendation for its proposal for an experience centre for biodiversity outside the German town of Rehau, close to the Czech border. The proposed experience centre comprises a restaurant, exhibition and teaching rooms, as well as some 50,000 square metres of landscaping.

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The competition jury praised the building’s innovative bio-façade in combination with the distinct form and the interior play of light, as well as the technical solutions for local electricity generation, heat storage, natural ventilation and daylight, which were fully integrated in the building.

“The fact that we have received an award in a major international architectural competition in competition with renowned architects from throughout Europe is naturally fantastic, but it is also important for our image as an international office with sustainable architecture as an export commodity. Together with some of Europe’s best engineers we have designed a self-sufficient building entirely in wood, where architecture and sustainability are inseparable components. We have succeeded in gaining a foothold in this context with a proposal which stands out – in both form and material as well as innovative solutions – and it feels good to come so far with a project that is so entirely compatible with our values and vision,” say lead architects Magnus Bunner and Björn Bondesson.

White’s proposal is a reinterpretation of the regional barn architecture. A distinct angular wooden building is located in the borderland between forest and open ground, creating a generous entrance towards the southwest and the rolling Central European landscape. The building is partially submerged in the ground, and the visitor moves at eye level with plants and animals along a glass slit which makes the entire building float. The building’s façades are a large library of biological diversity and high-performing solar cells. Together the visitors build nesting boxes, beehives and insect hotels which over time will fill the façade library and make the actual building a centre for biodiversity along the green strip.

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White, with references from successful projects for the Swedish ‘Naturum’ experience centres and similar commissions where nature and architecture meet, prequalified as the only Swedish architect’s office in the competition. A total of eleven offices from countries including Germany, Switzerland and Spain competed.

Besides Magnus Bunner and Björn Bondesson, the competition team from White included the architects Stina Hillinge, Eva Hanewinckel and Linn Roldin, landscape architects Anika Meincke, Ulrika Bergbrant and Eric Reid, as well as the environmental experts Daniel Nilsson and John Helmfridsson. Technical consultants for design, technical system and energy were Drees & Sommer, Stuttgart & Düsseldorf through Michael Duder, Christian Luft and Michael Dufner.

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