by Jasmin Schauer

Now and especially in the future, the use of renewable energies will play an increasingly important role. How come solar energy was not included in the construction of the library at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle? 

Different variations were investigated. Solar energy in form of thermal energy was rejected at a very early stage.

Did the client request photovoltaic or the use of solar energy in any other way?

It was not a topic for our work from the beginning on.

If you were allowed to plan the project again, would you do something different regarding the use of renewable energies – taking the current climate debate into consideration?

The EEWärmeG (renewable energy heat law in Germany) already existed at that time, so these aspects were realized as a system of a gas heat pump with two geothermal probes.

In your opinion, how important is the integration of photovoltaic in public buildings? Do they have an exemplary function? What are the biggest obstacles?

The use of regenerative energy is very important, but it does not necessarily have to be photovoltaic. Public buildings certainly have a role model character, but unfortunately financial aspects often play the biggest part. The most sensible way to generate energy is when it can be used on site.

How do you think current solar modules can be configured/integrated? Would you have used modules if they were more aesthetically pleasing or more designable? 

The question did not come up, but as architects we want to see such things as little as possible.

Are you familiar with the various options of photovoltaic or do you work together with specialist planners?

That’s not our area of expertise. We cooperate with external engineering offices for media and lighting technology, as we did for the media library project.

In times of climate crisis, how does the future of building look like? Is there anything that will be essential in planning and construction in a few years time?

Summer heat insulation is certainly becoming more and more important. Heavy buildings with a lot of storage mass are advantageous for this, but in other aspects of sustainability they don’t come off so well.

What hopes, wishes or expectations do you have for a university project entitled “the power of…where design meets solar energy”?

New concepts for the use of solar energy, perhaps even for cooling … And of course beautiful, almost invisible technology. 

The Dresden-based architecture firm Peter Zirkel, in cooperation with ZILA Freie Architekten from Leipzig, was able to win the international architecture competition for the Burg Giebichenstein media library. Under the direction of Silke Wollenweber, a slim, line-shaped building at the Design Campus in Halle was created, which has been awarded five times since its completion at the end of 2015. Silke Wollenweber has been working as an architect for Peter Zirkel since 2003 and focuses mainly on projects with public clients.