Invited competition with Fabio
Reinhardt and Bruno Reichlin.
Ernstings Mini-Laden is a casual-wear retailer with headquarters in a rural
area on the outskirts of Coesfeld in northern Germany. The Warehouse is
located next to Ernstings¹ original building.
brief asked for a design that would go beyond mere functionality to provide
the company with an enhanced, representative image within the textile
warehouse, the subject of the competition, was designed by Gerzi.
Gerzi, a firm specializing in the textile industry, was also responsible for
organizing and planning the underlying structure of the warehouse; a large
concrete frame with masonry infill.
Calatrava proposed cladding the new building in a single material,with each
facade treated as an independent event. The proposal served as both an
exercise in the global application of a single material and as an
investigation into the varied ways of using untreated aluminum, a staple of
industrial construction, to give expression to a straightforward and
realizing the project, Calatrava employed aluminum to produce different
effects of texture and light. The corrugated southern facade responds to
sunlight as if it were a giant sculpture. Its verticality contrasts with
the northern facade, that only receives light when the sun is at its zenith,
where the emphasis is horizontal with a specially formed S-profile cladding.
are treated as points of transition with certain elements serving as
characteristic features. The bridge that links the original building to the
northwest corner of the new warehouse is an aluminum-clad space-frame that
also houses a conveyor system.
For the loading bay doors, vertical
slats are hinged along a curved line and connected at their lower points to
a horizontal frame, that can be raised or lowered.
When the frame is raised the vertical slats leave the plane of the facade
and, due to the differentiated triple-jointing of each U-shaped extruded
profile, assume the shape of a graceful cantilevered roof.
doors were the first application of an idea that originated in a sculpture
by Calatrava; a form based on the shape of the human eye. Here, the form
became an experiment in kinetics, used to investigate the mechanical
transformation of planes in a building.