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IBA-Dock, Hamburg, Han Slawik, Container, schwimmend

Architecture learns how to swim

With the "IBA Dock, the International Building Exhibition (Internationale Bausausstellung = IBA) in Hamburg takes to the water: Designed by Han Slawik, the construction moves up and down with the tide – and uses its floating concrete substructure for cooling in summer and heating in winter.

The International Building Exhibition can look back on a tradition of over 100 years in Germany and a new chapter of its history is currently being written in Hamburg. On the Elbinsel, where the city districts of Wilhelmsburg and Veddel are located, around 40 inpidual projects such as parks, residential estates and sports facilities as well as a shopping centre will be completed by 2013. The "IBA Dock" in the north part of the island is intended to serve as a central gathering point for visitors. In accordance with designs created by Hanover architect Han Slawik, a floating structure is to be built within 10 months. On the outside, it will be reminiscent of stacked containers on a sea freighter and, by the way, will also function in the same way. The multi-functional building, from which the local inhabitants are to profit as well, will rest on a concrete pontoon, which is 50 metres long and 26 metres wide. It will rise and fall by around 3.5 metres with the tide. The IBA organizers see the dock as a prototype for future housing construction in areas where there is a danger of flooding.

The superstructure will be made of steel and will be modular in form. This keeps the weight down and makes it possible to remove part of the building for transport purposes so that the structure can pass under low bridges.

In addition to outer walls with 25 centimetres of thermal insulation, an intelligent air-conditioning system will be a main contributor to the energy efficiency of the floating building. Heating, hot water supply and cooling for the building have been designed by Immosolar and will be completely covered by renewable forms of energy. The main producers of energy will be solar collectors (approx. 34 m2 gross collector surface) and a brine/water heat pump (44 kW). The source of energy for the heat pump will be the steel and concrete pontoon, in which reinforcement mats with heat exchange pipes will be installed as a closed system.

The solar collectors will cover most of the need for hot water and will provide part of the energy for heating.

For the supply of electricity to the building, a 16.7 kWp photovoltaic system will be installed above the roof terrace and, at the same time, will provide a certain amount of shade. It will generate part of the auxiliary electricity that will be needed to operate compressors, pumps etc. This energy will be fed into the power grid of the city of Hamburg. Completion of the IBA dock is planned for the third quarter of 2009.

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