A bright white wave
Nov 18, 2014

The town of Schwäbisch Gmünd organized an ideas competition as part of the planning for this year’s State Horticultural Show. The winning concept envisaged that the station forecourt in the south be connected to a new square in the north, thus establishing clear links between the green areas in the show. Local architects and designers were invited to submit their proposals, including four teams from the University of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd supervised by Klaus Marek, whose firm, preiswerk marek architekten from Switzerland, also accompanied the winning student project in realizing the design. Unusual for an underpass is the bright white of the wall cladding made from the mineral material HI-MACS® and the colored light concept.

The horizontal structuring of the walls emulates the height of the steps, which lead down to the underpass, thus achieving harmony in the overall appearance. Undulating strips are indirectly lit by programmable LEDs provide the walls with a lively relief. As an acrylic resin bound material HI-MACS® is the ideal choice for back-ventilated wall cladding: Organically curving elements are easily implemented using the heat-tempered mineral material.

Moreover, the material meets the German rail operator’s requirements for resilience against damage caused by vandalism. The pore-free, homogenous surface of HI-MACS® is weatherproof, impact-resistant and easy to clean. The material consists of natural stone powder and 25 percent high-quality acrylic resin. Thanks to the addition of pigments the wall cladding could be produced in a pure “Alpine White” shade, which bathes the passage in a pleasant light. Good visibility is provided by the colored LEDs, which depending on the time of year set green or autumnal accents. preiswerk marek architekten comments: “We place great emphasis on the practicality and everyday functionality of a design. And we incorporate economic, ecologically sustainable, technical, and not least of all, creative and aesthetic aspects. Our work is characterized by the sensitive use of materials and giving attention to details.” Which is why they opted for HI-MACS®.

LEDs behind the curved elements make for alternating colored light depending on the time of year and day. Photo © Uwe Röder

The HI-MACS® façade cladding corresponds to the height of the steps and ensures an overall homogeneous appearance. Photo © Uwe Röder

The HI-MACS® mineral material can be dyed with any shade of pigment. An inviting, fresh-looking white was used for the underpass. Photo © Uwe Röder

The 2.5 meter long HI-MACS® elements were reverse fitted onto an aluminum base. Photo © Uwe Röder

Back-lit in green, the curved elements of HI-MACS® create a visual connection with the green spaces of the State Horticultural Show. Photo © Uwe Röder

HI-MACS® can be heat tempered, which meant that the elements could be bent.
Photo © Uwe Röder

The nighttime version of the underpass in green. Thanks to the homogeneous surface of HI-MACS® the walls are easy to clean. Photo © Uwe Röder