Hedge Building

Hedge Building, Rostock, Germany, Atelier Kempe Thill
Construction year: 2003
Address: IGA Park RostockIGA Park Rostock, Mecklemburg-Vorpommern | ROSTOCK | Germany
Latitude/Longitude: 54.1364328, 12.0835853

The project demonstrates the logic and rationality of Dutch agriculture and unearths surprisingly romantic qualities within its limited conditions. The architectural starting point is a fascinating new building element: the ‘smart screen’. The smart screen is an ivy hedge grown in Dutch greenhouses. It is produced in sections measuring 1.2 by 1.8 meters and planted in gardens. Essentially an industrial product, the hedge can be deployed to build ‘green walls’. Normally, it takes years for ivy to grow and cover a building. The smart screen makes a green building possible instantly.

The dimensions of the Hedge Pavilion are 20 x 6.5 x 10 meters. It is, in fact, a pergola. Its compact shape, topped by a roof and entered through four-meter-high doors, gives it the enclosed character of a house. This is balanced by the see-through character of the ivy. A steel framework creates five rows of channels filled with earth from which the smart screens grow. A computer-controlled system of pipes provides irrigation for the hedges. The structure has no conventional diagonal bracing but is stabilized by four star-shaped corner columns that can withstand all horizontal loads. Vertical loads are carried by a multitude of five-centimeter-thick columns. The hedges are visually continuous and look as if they support the structure. The hedges partly conceal the star-shaped columns, each of which weighs 4000 kilograms, and make them appear less substantial. Visually, the hedges seem to turn the corners, yet at the same time the corners are subtly marked.

The interior is enclosed on all sides by 10-meter-high green walls of ivy. Covering the top of the space is a screen of translucent plastic. The space is very neutral and modest and can accommodate different functions. Interesting light conditions predominate inside. Light entering through the ceiling gives the space the character of a classical museum, and more light filters through the enclosing hedges. The result is a game played between inside and outside. The light from above makes the space feel like an interior, while the light entering through the hedges gives the space the character of an exterior space. What’s more, the gentle sway of the leaves and their shadows enhances the perception of the space.

SIZE: 120 m2
DESIGN TEAM: André Kempe, Cornelia Sailer, Ruud Smeelen, Oliver Thill,Takashi Nakamura
CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT: Matrix Architektur, Rostock, Germany
VIDEO CONCEPT: Leo Schepman Communicatie Projecten, Den Haag, NL
SMART SCREEN: Mobilane, Nijmegen, NL

Contributed by Atelier Kempe Thill

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