Industrial culture can only come about when existing economic and functional practical constraints are successfully transformed into multidimensional design.
The Funder Werk factory building, a paper coating factory, is functionally determined by the process of production. It was to be metamorphosed into “expressive architecture.” The design concept was based on the idea of dismantling the production hall into sculpturally shaped elements. During the design process, the power station with its chimneys, the media bridge, the flying roof, the office and laboratory areas, and the entrances emerged as differentiated, interconnected architectural elements that endow the complex as a whole with an unmistakable head and body. The playful sculptural evocation of the power station with the “dancing chimneys,” the media bridge as a connection between energy and production, the free design of the flying roof as “wings,” the shaped canopies of the entrances, and the corner of the laboratory and office areas dissolved in glass towards the south, all stand out against the hall, which has been consciously kept white and simple.
The building is essentially comprised of two parts: the power station with the three 25 meters high chimneys and a “cascade” and the production hall. They are connected by a media bridge. Three small red canopies and a large flying roof are tied in the hall. The elements of the media bridge, flying roof, and power station cohere formally and statically by way of two long anchoring cables on the chimney.
The hall is constructed in steel. Twenty trusses bear the flat roof. Curtain walls built from precast, reinforced-concrete segments cover the lower part of the building, above which are longitudinally staggered, flush sheet-metal panels. On the north long side, light comes in through sheds, and on the south side through vertical window strips. The edge of the southwest façade departs from this principle and presents itself as a tilted corner in steel and glass, penetrated by truss girders and a diagonal beam.
The power station is made of reinforced concrete and displays the same wall construction as the hall. Three different sloping chimneys come in contact with the power station through anchoring cables. The “cascade” is a freestanding object made from sheet metal and a lattice frame.
A third of the media bridge rests on the roof of the power station, from which it ascends to the hall as a jutting, divided, and creased bridge construction. Half of it is clad in the same sheet-metal panels as the hall and the power station, the rest of it in longitudinally and diagonally laid acrylic web plates. The bridge cuts through the large folded flying roof, which is held up by a truss girder, that has been shifted outward, and only two supports.