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18. March 2013

Brilliant acoustics

Stuttgart's Schillerplatz square played host to intense discussions over freshly roasted coffee as early as 1712: this is when one of Germany's first coffee houses opened its doors there – which was later converted to the inn that would become known as the "König von England" or "King of England". After the inn's destruction in the Second World War, it was replaced by an administration building, which has been listed since 1984. This building has now been extensively refurbished and modernised for use by the Baden-Württemberg state ministries. The objective of the refurbishment was to retain the building's character typical of its time of origin while at the same time providing it with state-of-the-art facilities. To ensure optimal room acoustics and a magnificent appearance for the top floor, which has been converted into a conference room, the architects opted for a golden-anodised acoustic ceiling made of aluminium mesh from GKD – Gebr. Kufferath AG (GKD).

Modernisation in line with conservation practice

The refurbishment of the historical building posed a variety of challenges to the Stuttgart-based architect firm zsp Architekten: the plan involved refurbishment of all structural-physical and energy-related aspects of the facade and roof surfaces as well as the interior and cost a total of €7 million. The building’s ground floor has hosted several shops since as early as the 1950s. Uninterrupted sales operations throughout the entire refurbishment further complicated the spatial organisation and scheduling of the modernisation process. Both the original reinforced concrete skeleton with its mounted travertine facade and the historical steel composite windows of the building were to be retained. Using restorative coating analyses and photographs of the building taken during construction, some walls and windows were restored to their original colours and the energy facilities were upgraded. Alongside the removal of harmful materials, fire protection was also optimised. In the interior of the building, surfaces and technical facilities were given a modern facelift. In this way, comprehensive modernisation measures created the conditions necessary for modern administration. And to reduce electricity consumption, the building with a usable floor space of around 4,700 square metres was fitted in full with LED lighting.

Picture © GKD/Holtkötter

The full press release is available as PDF download:

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