AAg Loebner Schäfer Weber Freie Architekten
best architects 19
Heidelberg / Germany
Through subtle interventions in the building fabric of the former railway water tower, it was possible to create a cultural centre that combines contemporary creative working worlds with the authentic charm of a historic railway building. The offices of the architects are located in the east wing, and KlangForum, the Heidelberg Association for Contemporary Music, has set up its office and rehearsal rooms in the west wing. The premises are available for rent for cultural events and conferences under the «Tankturm» brand. Sensitive and concise modifications in keeping with monument protection regulations determined the design concept. The prominent and striking look of the building with its exposed masonry was left untouched. The water tank remains in place as a structural element and historical testimony and was merely sawed open horizontally to let more daylight inside. The addition of a steel floor and a fireplace turn the tank into an atmospheric lounge. On the tower floors, a sculptural steel staircase connects the various rooms. A footbridge through the so-called «cathedral» makes this soaring space usable in all its dimensions while its height and structure can be experienced close-hand. In the office areas, atriums connect the floors vertically over all levels, while the attic level rests on the old wooden beams like a raft. Escape balconies newly inserted into the tower and a display window that affords a view into the hall on the ground floor make the interiors visible as new interventions that can be seen even from afar.