Textile sun protection
Dec 7, 2012

Hamburg’s Harburg district once boasted a flourishing industrial harbor on the Süderelbe River, which has in recent years been redeveloped into a business and research hub with the rather promising name “Channel Hamburg”. A number of unused warehouse and port facilities, which previously served as long-term storage space for rubber, gum elastic and palm oil, were repurposed in the process.

A mix of old and modern architecture now aims to preserve the original character of the old harbor buildings while moving forward. A prime example of this approach is the Kaispeicher building on Veritaskai, a four-part building complex, featuring a combination of existing structures and new builds.

The Kaispeicher’s eastward façade was designed by Hamburg-based architect Nina Vogler, daughter of project commissioner Lorenz Vogler. She created a façade whose design alludes to maritime themes, water, ships and sails, and simultaneously serves as a sunscreen. Colt International, specialists in technical building services, proved to be the ideal partner to make her ideas a reality. The manufacturer based in Kleve, Germany built and installed the façade construction made up of both fixed and adjustable sliding shutters, all covered with a textile membrane.

Before installing the final product, Colt International built a model facility at their own plant, where they carried out all necessary tests. One major challenge faced by the manufacturer was the sunscreen shutters and their varying angles of inclination, which were designed to lend the façade a unique outer appearance. The shutters are all set off from the façade at different angles generating a wave-like effect, which in turn alludes to the building’s proximity to the water.

81 of the 201 elements are adjustable. When opened, these moveable shutters slide behind one of the fixed shutters. As a result, depending on the position of the open shutters on façade, these elements create an infinite array of patterns in the façade – just like the surface of a body of water. Like a curtain façade, these elements cover all 870 square meters of the building’s exterior and provide shade on all nine stories of the Kaispeicher building.

Ferrari Screen Stamisol FT 381, the textile membrane that covers each of the shutters, boasts high UV resistance and shields the building’s interior from direct sunlight. However, thanks to its great translucency you can still see through it perfectly. The moveable shutters are adjusted according to the current weather conditions, the position of the sun in particular. The façade is programmed to ensure that those inside are able enjoy optimum light conditions at any time of day. Automatic wind and frost monitors ensure that the shutters are brought back to their original position in the case of extreme weather. So-called manual switches can also be used to adapt the position of the individual shutters from inside the building.

Architect Nina Vogler has designed a sunscreen façade for the Kaispeicher building in Harburg district of Hamburg, photo © Colt
Architect Nina Vogler has designed a sunscreen façade for the Kaispeicher building in Harburg district of Hamburg, photo © Colt
Textile membranes protect those inside the building from the direct sunlight, photo © Colt
The textile membranes are highly transparent guaranteeing an optimum view from the inside outward, photo © Colt
View between the building envelope and sunscreen façade, photo © Colt
The sunscreen shutters lend the façade a wave-like appearance, photo © Colt
Both fixed and movable shutters define the outer appearance of the Harburg Kaispeicher building, photo © Colt
The sunscreen shutters can also be adapted individually from inside, photo © Colt
The curtain façade covers a total surface area of 870 square meters, photo © Colt