HENN has won the competition to design Brainergy Hub in Jülich, DE. The distinctive, circular design is the heart of a new knowledge hub dedicated to sustainable and renewable energy research. HENN’s innovative use of material, form and renewable technologies means the Hub is not only passive, but energy producing, and will function as the brain and battery of the Brainergy masterplan.
Located along the autobahn, HENN’s design acts as a lighthouse, symbolizing Germany’s shift towards renewable energy and a green future. The Hub’s circular form i s symbolic as well as pragmatic: as the Brainergy’s central building, the circle is omnidirectional, a democratic shape that never turns its back on the other buildings.
Marcin Kropidlo, Project Director at HENN Berlin: “The circle is omnidirectional, always equal. It’s a democratic shape that never turns its back on the surrounding buildings. Within this circular footprint, we’ve made the Hub as pragmatic and efficient as possible. The result is a pixelated cloud of structural repetitive elements that create a highly flexible modular system.”
The Hub’s recessed ground floor connects the north and south sides of the campus, and contains meeting rooms and a canteen. Above, the building’s circular balcony inscribes a pixel-like modular system that allows offices to easily grow or shrink. The structural grid is punctuated by a large central atrium, surrounded by collaborative work areas and communal programs.
The main spiral staircase leads visitors through this extroverted space, while the balcony and external staircases offer shortcuts and allow office modules to be used independently. The design utilizes a hybrid structure of timber, concrete, and steel. Warm wood is used for interior cladding, as well as columns and beams; concrete slabs provide passive heating and cooling.
While the steel balcony and exterior stairwells offer structural support. Solar panels are deployed on the roof and the balcony. The circular balcony railings act as tracks for sun-seeking photovoltaic panels that follow the path of the sun, transforming the building into an energy-producing sundial. Source and images courtesy of HENN.