RWE AG TOWER ESSEN, GERMANY
INGENHOVEN, OVERDIEK, KAHLEN & PARTNER
ARCH 366 Lily Kim
RWE AG TOWER Essen, Germany | Ingenhoven, Overdiek, Kahlen & Partner by Lily Kim The RWE Tower or also known as the “Power Tower” is headquarters to Germany’s largest producers of electricity. It is located in Essen, the business capital of the Ruhr region in the western part of Germany. It issituated across from the Aalto Theater and Stadtgarten Park, and very close to the Essen Central Station. This unique tower is not only a landmark to the city of Essen but is the one of the first instigator of incorporating sophisticated environmental principles in the design of high-rises. Designed by Ingenhoven, Overdiek, Kahlen & Partner and completed in December of 1996, the 162m reinforced concretestructure, consisting of 29-storeys takes on a circular form, chosen for its maximum surface to volume ratio. The 32m diameter floors use significant amounts of natural ventilation through the transparent double-skinned façade, using inventive
Fig.1 The RWE Tower seen from the Alvar Aalto opera house.i
techniques to make this ecological high-rise. ii The RWE Tower The RWE Tower, as statedabove, consists of 29 stories, which include a mechanical floor and three basement levels. Around the building is a 1,800sq.m landscaping zone, which includes a garden and small lake. The major public spaces, such as the staff restaurant, dining room, recreation rooms, etc. are located in first basement level, overlooking the garden and lake, taking advantage of the city landscape and the elegantview. 2
Office rooms are located on the 2-18 and 20-24 levels. They are laid along the perimeter of the floor plan, around the main circulation core located in the center. Elevators are placed independently at the side of the main building, keeping the floor area open and free of any obtrusions. The 19th floor is a double story height and contains the mechanical system used during conditions ofextreme temperatures and winds. The 25-28 floors occupy the senior management offices and large conference rooms and finally, the 29th floor consists of a board room and an aerial garden. The aerial garden is protected from damaging and strong winds by the glass façade of the tower.v
Fig.2 A vertical section of the tower.iii
Double-Skin Façade The façade of the RWE Tower consists of adouble-skin glazing. This “thermalflue” curtain wall insulates the space in all seasons. It consists of basically two sheets of glass separated by an air space. This air space provides insulation against fluxuating temperatures, shield from winds, and the absorption of sound. At the top and bottom of the airspace expanding its width is a device the architects call the “fish-mouth”. This device, which willbe explained further in detail below, draws external air into the airspace. Shading devices are installed in between the two sheets of glazing and are electrically operable. (See Fig. 4) On a typical floor plan in the RWE Tower, all the offices are placed around the outer perimeter of the floor, giving each space ample amounts of natural light and a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Theplacement of these spaces not only allows every office to be illuminated with natural light but is directly related to the natural ventilation system the double-skin façade provides. The outer façade 3
Fig.3 Typical floor plan with meeting rooms.iv
Fig.4 Façade detailvi Scale 1:10
1 ”fish-mouth” device 2 stainless-steel point fixings 3 50/120 aluminum façade post 4 airspace: external aircorridor diagonally ventilated. 5 inner face with thermally insulated double glazing 6 outer façade: 10mm toughened flint glass 7 fixing head for traveling cradle 8 horizontal ventilation slit with natural anodized aluminum air deflectors 9 4mm natural anodized perforated sheet aluminum lining (unperforated in adjoining bay.) 10 4mm natural anodized aluminum sheet (perforated in adjoining bay),...
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