Freiburg University Building 051

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Freiburg University Building 051

Old building material, new construction technology

On the campus, at the airport of the University of Freiburg, you will find old barracks buildings next to modern new developments. The technical faculty, responsible for students researching innovative technologies for tomorrow, is located here. In their offices in the expanded attic of the old barracks building 051, the advantages of modern construction techniques are apparent. The expansion construction method using clay-earth drywall does justice to the past, present and future.

More space for research: loft conversions with modern earthen building materials

The Technical Faculty of the Albert Ludwig University was founded in 1995 and has been located on the airfield campus ever since. In 1992 the French armed forces stationed here cleared the area to make room for additional buildings. These new buildings supplemented the existing historical barracks and airfield buildings, which were also expanded and converted into research and teaching rooms.

The attic of building 051 – a former barracks building from 1913 – was largely unused. It, therefore, provided an ideal expansion opportunity with which the needs of an increasing number of students could be accommodated.

During the planning, the maxim: respect the historic existing buildings, was followed. The execution of the renovation using ecologically sustainable, “old-time” building materials such as wood, clay and hemp was almost a matter of course.

When walking through the rooms you will find the ecological building materials everywhere: clay-hemp panels for the interior cladding of the sloping ceilings, wooden frame construction with heavy-clay panels for the office partitions, and solid wood ceilings for the loft with clay fill and cladding with wood-wool acoustic panels. Ecological construction also creates healthy and unpolluted indoor air.

More start-up than university: historical preservation design with ecological standards

A sticking point in the renovation of attics along historical preservation guidelines are the modern requirements for energy efficiency. To comply with today’s energy standards, the roof structure was planned as a warm roof (non-aerated) and raised by 10 cm.

During the expansion, the aim was to preserve the wooden buttress of the historic roof structure as much as possible and at the same time to highlight it as a basic design element. The buttress was left exposed in the room and not used as part of the new partition walls. For structural reasons, the load-bearing elements of the wooden struts had to be reinforced. A conscious decision was made to use steel in order to turn these reinforcements into a design element.

When you step into the office space on the top floor, you might think that you are in a hip start-up instead of the attic of a historical landmark. The combination of white and brown clay plaster surfaces, wood and curved glass, creates transparency and opens up the smaller spaces, allowing the room to be experienced as a whole. “Old” can be so future-oriented.

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Clay Highlight:

More efficiency in building: clay drywall from Claytec

Drywall is a popular way to make interior work more efficient. This modern construction method was selected for the roof extension of historic building 051 at the University of Freiburg. The clay-hemp board Greentech from Claytec provided the opportunity to build in an ecological and healthful manner while following guidelines for landmark preservation.

The medium-weight panels are attached to a wooden or metal construction and then plastered. Joints are bridged with glass fabric. Claytec clay finishing plaster was used in the attic of the university building. For a surface design that matches the modern ambiance, the walls were coated with YOSIMA clay designer plaster in white.

Earthen clay was not only used for the wall construction there in Freiburg. A clay-fill in the wooden ceilings improves the thermal insulation and at the same time increases the mass, which in turn has a positive effect on the soundproofing properties and the building engineering physics of the building.


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