The Stuttgart Station Saga

“A panel of know-alls”

Stuttgart – Excerpts from various newspapers… 

As a responsible planner of the statics the Stuttgart engineer Werner Sobek knows the construction project of the deep station to the smallest detail. In an interview Sobek increasingly objects to the reasons to which the project must be stopped because of safety concerns.

Mr. Sobek, your colleague Frei Otto calls the freeze of Stuttgart21 as threatened due to the construction site “danger to life and limb.” If the warning justified?

The warning is not justified in any way. I am shocked that Mr. Otto now expressed in this form – after many, many years has been involved in the project as an active planner and Stuttgart21 has known this for a long time so also the advice on the nature of the subsoil. These opinions do not say, that the project threatens or endangers life.

Mr. Otto warns of new underground station could be flooded by ground water or by the pressure of groundwater squeezed out of the ground uncontrollably. If you build in the groundwater, creating lift. It is known since Archimedes. The new Stuttgart main train station is between six and eight meters in groundwater. This is technically not a problem and the conditions of the city, if you go to the many parking garages, think light rail or commuter train tunnel, sensational in any way. On the contrary: The tubes of the S-and U-Bahn are for nearly 35 years in peace some six feet lower than the new station in the groundwater. And nothing has happened.

As a layman I would say that the subway station developed because of its size, a much higher lift than a narrow tube train. Is that correct?

Yes. But even the weight of the main station construction is sufficient to compensate for the buoyancy almost. It includes hundreds of stakes that anchor the station ten to 16 meters deep underground. This is an additional security. Overall, to the problem which Mr. Otto fears.

Mr. Otto said that he spoke his warning also of “moral obligation” of. Can you do with this concept in this context something?

I will not comment on that.

Try it.

At the Stuttgart 21 project some of the best and most prestigious Ingenierbüros are actually involved. This fellow can not just assume this way – even indirectly – that they would act irresponsibly or immorally. This is simply an absurdity.


Stuttgart 21
co-creator of the station questioned
Michael Schmidt, 08/19/2010 17:28 clock

The 85-year-old Frei Otto does not currently mainly technical incalculable risks sufficiently into account. 

Photo: Zweygarth

“If a design takes long to realize, then, the plan has become obsolete. “

Frei Otto on one of the problems of the low station

One of two designers of the deep station for Stuttgart 21 suggests a new beginning of the planning. The 85-year-old Frei Otto, who for more than 13 years has together with the Düsseldorf architect Christoph Ingenhoven designed the characteristic “light eyes” and the shape of the new Stuttgart station, does not currently particularly unpredictable technical risks sufficiently into account. Above all, the Safety concerns the architect and engineer and complains that the current criticism is based primarily on the costs: “If we had had in designing the current level of information, I would be dominated by the idea of a low station moved away.” For a compelling reason why one would put the Stuttgart main station underground. Instead Otto is tinkering with the the idea of a high station in order to cross the Nesenbachtal. “A new plan could be mad to go fast, since there are now so much more information there than in the architectural competition in 1997.” The current hard-fought were on the side wings of the other option and this has ever been an issue for the architectural competition.

Geological factors affecting work 

“The purpose of the wings, which are for a station with steam locomotives because of the soot and smoke make it an absolutely necessity. Bonatz ‘grand gesture to the east has seen hardly anyone,” said Otto. . What made him much more strongly for a rethink, are the sum of the geological adversities and also insights and new and terrible experience of the behavior of crowds in the tunnel , “The main problem still remains: we sit down with the underground station in the groundwater, and it  rises up. How is the 400-meter long and 100 meter wide concrete trough in which sits the underground station, to be held then, so that it floats not. 

But can they be securely anchored? “asks the emeritus of the University of Stuttgart and founder of the Institute for Lightweight Structures in the face of the clay subsoil at Castle Garden. Also on another level, there are other problems with his creation: “Each design has its time has when it is not realized for long, then the plan becomes outdated and is flogged to death. Big projects who have no completion date, there is no psychological support” says Otto, who attained World fame for the design for the Munich Olympic roofs in collaboration with his colleagues in Stuttgart Gunter Behnisch 1972 .

Olympic Shooting Range – Temporary

With the London Summer Olympic Games rapidly approaching, there has been much talk about either the games are in fact economically good for a city. At its best, hosting an Olympics can help revitalize a city, and at its worst, playing host can leave the host-country drowning in debt.

There are a lot of reasons for this, but one is simply the cost of building new venues, all with a price tag to match their state-of-the-art design. When the athletes and fans pack up and go, the new stadiums and event-specific venues–for example, the Athens Olympics had a venue just for taekwondo– are often left empty, and unused far before the bill is settled.

In London, there has been a little of everything, from big name high-priced venues to littler, temporary structures. But how do you make a temporary building that still has an architectural impact? Perhaps in an effort to answer this question, London and Berlin-based Magma architecture came up with a design for the Olympic Shooting Gallery that could be dismantled, but that you won’t soon forget.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture

The shooting galleries for the London 2012 Olympic games are covered in spots that look the suckers of an octopus’ tentacles.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Designed by Magma Architecture of London and Berlin, the Olympic Shooting Venue comprises three PVC tents that have been erected at London’s historic Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
The extruded red, blue and pink circles draw ventilation inside each of the venues and also create tension nodes for the steel structure beneath the white skin.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Some natural light permeates this PVC membrane, while entrances are contained inside all the spots that meet the ground.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
As the structures are only temporary, they will be dismantled immediately after the Olympics and reassembled in Glasgow for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Photography is by J.L. Diehl unless otherwise stated.
The text below is from Magma Architecture:

?London Shooting Venue
The London Shooting Venue will accommodate the events in 10, 25 and 50 m Sport Shooting at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in the southeast London district of Woolwich.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
The first Gold Medal of the London Olympic Games will be awarded at the venue for Women’s 10 m Air Pistol on the 28th July 2012. After the event the three temporary and mobile buildings will be dismantled and rebuilt in Glasgow for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Shooting is a sport in which the results and progress of the competition are hardly visible to the eye of the spectator.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
The design of the shooting venue was driven by the desire to evoke an experience of flow and precision inherent in the shooting sport through the dynamically curving space.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
All three ranges were configured in a crisp, white double curved membrane façade studded with vibrantly colored openings.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
As well as animating the façade these dots operate as tensioning nodes.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
The 18.000 m2 of phthalate-free pvc membrane functions best in this stretched format as it prevents the façade from flapping in the windt.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Photograph by Steve Bates
The openings also act as ventilation intake and doorways at ground level.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Photograph by Steve Bates
The fresh and light appearance of the buildings enhances the festive and celebrative character of the Olympic event.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
With the buildings being dismantled after the event an additional aim was to create a remarkable design which will be remembered by visitors and the local community thereby leaving a mental imprint the Olympic of shooting sport competition in Woolwich.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
The shooting venue is not situated in the Olympic Park, but has its own location in Woolwich on the grounds of the historic Royal Artillery Barracks.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Photograph by Steve Bates
It is estimated that more than 104.000 spectators will watch the competitions.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Photograph by Steve Bates
The three buildings comprise 3.800 seats divided between two partially enclosed ranges for the 25 and 10/50 m qualifying rounds and a fully enclosed finals range. Together they form a campus on the green field.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Photograph by Steve Bates
Their up to 107 m long facades refer to the structured length of the Royal Artillery Barracks building, but have their own contemporary architectural expression.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Guided by the high requirements from the client, the Olympic Delivery Authority, sustainability was a key factor in shaping the design. All materials will be reused or recycled.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
All three of the venues are fully mobile, every joint has been designed so it can be reassembled; and no composite materials or adhesives were used. In addition, the semitransparent facades on two of the three ranges reduce the need for artificial lighting and the ventilation is fully natural.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
The tensioning detail was achieved through an efficient configuration of modular steel components commonly used in temporary buildings market. The double-curvature geometry is a result of the optimal use of the membrane material, which magma architecture has been experimenting with for a number of years, amongst others in the award winning head in I im kopf exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie in Germany.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
Magma archtitecture was founded in 2003 by the architect Martin Ostermann and the exhibition designer Lena Kleinheinz. Central to our work is the use of complex geometric modeling as a way of creating a more spatially dynamic vocabulary. This is essential to better articulate and reflect the heterogenieity of our cities and global culture.
Olympic Shooting Venue by Magma Architecture
We seek to be part of a new paradigm within architecture – one that is expressionistic, rooted in non-linear form-making and facilitated by new materiality and cutting edge technologies.

Xhina: and why economies should slow down…

China’s economy is slowing down. It’s projected growth rate is set to dip down to as low as a modest 6% versus the jaw-dropping double-digit rates of the past decade or more. In March, the government set its growth target for 2012 at 7.5%. It must be remembered that this is no accident. It is a calculated move. In the most recent five-year plan this general cooling-down is part of China’s strategy to avoid the sort of economic meltdown that hit the U.S. in 2008. They read the tea leaves and decided to take measures, as they can in a centrally-controlled economy, to ensure steady, modest growth rather than bubble-producing frenetic growth. Political stability is a huge factor in this. The communist party maintains its mandate as long as the engines of the economy continue to hum relatively smoothly.

Why the slow down? According to a recent special report in The Economist, nearly 48% of China’s GDP in 2011 was dominated by internal investment in infrastructure and city building. This should come as no surprise to foreign architects who have been riding this wave for the last twenty years or so. The scary part of this number is that most of this investment is being done by state owned enterprises (SOES) operating under artificially favorable conditions. On top of this, according to the ratings agency, Fitch, lending has jumped from 122% of GDP in 2008 to 171% in 2011. This “surge in credit” is strikingly familiar because it looks like the beginnings of America’s financial crisis. As The Economist notes, “When Fitch plugged China’s figures into its disaster warning system (the “macroprudential risk indicator”), the model suggested a 60% chance of a banking crisis by the middle of next year.”

What ramifications does a China slow-down have for foreign firms? Obviously, it means projects slow down or disappear. But this does not mean China is going away. While it will continue to be a vital market over the long term, what foreign firms should prepare for is a gradual shift in the architecture market toward social infrastructure projects.

So why have some economists been signaling the alarm that China is on it’s way to a resounding POP? Well, they have also been qualifying that prediction with data about how different the Chinese situation is from that of, say, the Eurozone, or the U.S. So, yes, there are all those reports about empty buildings and vacant mega-developments blowing with dust, but not to worry. Most of those were fronted with surplus cash, money to burn—something difficult to imagine when you come from a slow western economy. In the case of China, empty buildings do not necessarily indicate a bubble. What they might indicate is that they have to start thinking about how to allocate investments differently.
Additionally, according to the report, China’s financial sector will be able to absorb any bad investments in the development sector.

China’s banking system provides a vast ocean of cash reserves to weather any financial storm that may come its way. China has set it up so that there are basically no options for locals as to where to put their money. For the most part, it all goes into low-yield savings accounts that pay a criminally-low interest rate. China is flooding in cash and, in a sense, holding the Yuan hostage. What this means is that they have a greater margin for error when and if the shit hits the fan.

The new five-year plan begins to steer the country away from this potentiality by emphasizing social infrastructure as an area to concentrate development investments. Hospitals, housing, schools, senior amenities are all up for some state-sponsored infusions and incentives.

According to a recent article by Bloomberg News, China’s central government does not intend to roll out another hefty stimulus like it did three years ago. What they are proposing instead is a shift away from reliance on state investment to a model of private investment in infrastructure, schools, and health care sectors. Basically trying to get more private money out of the banks and into the economic stream to promote growth. Of course “private” and “state” can mean one and the same in China. More specifically, the idea is that this will gradually wean the state off its dependence on SOES and create an investment climate that is more aligned with actual market forces. Many economists, within and without China, have thought SOES have been granted too much power since the nineties and that they are skewing the economy into the red-hot danger zone.

There will, however, be modest stimulus measures taken by different state agencies, such as the State Council, and the finance ministry. Bloomberg notes that these measures could impact growth by August or September. China is also set to implement policies that would speed up the approval process for major projects.

While mixed-use has dominated in recent years, both state and private investments are going to start shifting toward markets like health care, education, and housing. According to Rosealea Yao of GK Dragonomics, China needs roughly 85 million more urban households to match housing demand.

The state recognizes the need to put some sort of social safety net in place now that the old “iron rice bowl”, which thrived under the communist industrial model, has been dead for many years. Thus, the consumption of social services is becoming more and more vital in “post-communist” China. This is one reason state and private investors are gradually turning their attention to health care and education. What the new economic order in China is producing is a new demand for such social infrastructure projects. Does this mean the mall is dead in China? Not exactly. But mall developments currently attract the wealthiest 10% of the population while the state is starting to turn the energy of the economy toward the other 90% a little more.

Retail will still be there but it is not yet China’s primary mode of consumption. This is true in part because of social inequality. However, if investments in social infrastructure increase, this will help drive social inequality down. By extension, this could give consumer society a shot in the arm. So, for those architects solely doing mixed-use retail, there is still room for growth, but this is tied to the long-term potential of the emerging social sector. This will become an important growth area in the next few years.

As The Economist report notes, China still needs more of everything. What will be important for foreign architects is to adapt and remain agile. Firms may have to run a race that is less based solely on running at full-speed and more a type of combined relay comprised of running, walking, resting, running again, and so on. To expand in China, foreign firms will need to think beyond just working with commercial investment clients doing icon towers and be ready to work with social infrastructure clients. Put another way, in the next few years, foreign architects may very well be doing fewer towers and more hospitals and schools.

Warsaw’s National Stadium wins World Stadium Award 2012

Designed by gmp Architekten, Warsaw’s National Stadium prevailed against international competition and won the World Stadium Award in the best multi-functional stadium design and most innovative use of technology categories in stadium design. On the occasion of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, the stadium was reconstructed on top of the existing – but since 1988 no longer used and dilapidated – earth wall stadium (Stadion Dziesieciolecia), and re-opened in January of this year.

The stadium’s construction consists of two succinct parts – the grandstand built of pre-fabricated concrete components and the steel wire net roof with a textile membrane suspended from freestanding steel supports with inclined tie rods above this. The interior roof consists of a retractable membrane sail which folds together above the center of the pitch. This is also where the four-screen “video cube” is installed so as to provide an optimum view from all seats. The top tier is accessed via 12 arch-shaped, single-flight staircases.

The exterior façade consists of anodized expanded metal that provides another envelope for the actual thermal shell of the interior areas and access steps. The panels with their red and bright silver color scheme appear either closed or transparent, depending on the light angle, and from a distance evoke the image of an artistic composition in white and red, the country’s national colors.

The stadium has been designed as a multifunctional events center and, with its approx. 20,000 sqm of office and conference facilities, comprises a comparatively high proportion of floor space which can be used independently of the stadium operation. These spaces are available for all types of events and include the necessary support facilities.

Architects: gmp Architekten
Location: Doha, Quatar
Design: Volkwin Marg and Hubert Nienhoff with Markus Pfisterer
Project Management: Markus Pfisterer, Martin Hakiel
Project Management (roof): Martin Glass
In cooperation With: J.S.K. Architekci Sp. z o.o. and schlaich bergermann und partner
Structural Design of Roof: schlaich bergermann and partners, Knut Göppert with Knut Stockhusen and Lorenz Haspel, M&E Engineering HTW, Hetzel, Tor-Westen + Partner, Biuro Projektów “DOMAR”
Landscape Design: RAK, Architectura Krajobrazu, Warsaw

General Contractor: Konsorcjum ALPINE BAU DEUTSCHLAND AG, ALPINE BAU GmbH, ALPINE Construction Polska Sp. z o.o., HYDROBUDOWA POLSKA S.A. i PBG S.A.

Client: Narodowe Centrum Sportu Sp. z o.o.
Seats: 55,000

Competition: 2007 – 1st prize
Construction Period: 2008-2011

Abvent launches Artlantis 4.1, powered by Maxwell Render

Abvent announced today the release of Artlantis 4.1, powered by the Maxwell Render engine from Next Limit Technologies.  This latest release combines the speed and ease-of-use Artlantis users have come to rely on with the power and physical accuracy of Maxwell Render.  As the fastest stand-alone 3D rendering application developed especially for architects and designers, Artlantis 4.1 takes architectural visualization to new heights.

ISO / Shutter Speed

Automatic lighting adjustment has been available since the launch of Artlantis 3.0.  With Artlantis 4.1, users can now choose to keep this setting or use a new feature called ISO/Shutter.  ISO refers to the sensitivity of camera film, while the Shutter Speed refers to the length of time the camera’s aperture stays open when taking a picture.  Artlantis 4.1 offers better color quality and more realistic results.

HDRi Background

The HDR image provides a spherical background as well as an overall illumination with shadows and full 360 degree reflections.  The 3D lit environment generated around the scenes ensures a robust background for all camera views combined with the entire range of real light intensity.  This also makes HDR images valuable for scenes that contain reflective surfaces.  With the special lighting channel included in HDR images, the illumination and shadow casting will result in amazingly realistic renderings.

Optional Maxwell Render Engine

Artlantis is the fastest 3D rendering application available today for architects and designers, while Maxwell Render is considered to be the most physically accurate rendering engine on the market.  Abvent and Next Limit Technologies have teamed up to offer Maxwell Render as an optional rendering engine within Artlantis 4.1.  Complete with specific shaders and postcards, Maxwell Render is incredibly easy to use.  Simply set up the scene in Artlantis as usual, and click on the Maxwell Render engine button to launch the calculation.  With Artlantis 4.1, users get the best of both worlds:  speed and physical accuracy.
Artlantis 4.1 is now available for purchase for €990 through Abvent’s network of international distributors and as a free upgrade for current Artlantis 4 users.  The optional Maxwell Render feature is available for €500.

About Abvent

Since 1985, the Abvent Group has offered innovative image and design solutions for CAD and BIM professionals in the fields of architecture and design.  Abvent’s cutting-edge approach to digital imagery has resulted in unique products and services that are innovative, powerful, and easy-to-use.

About Next Limit Technologies

Next Limit Technologies provides cutting edge simulation technologies for a broad range of applications in Computer Graphics, Science, and Engineering. Next Limit’s products include “RealFlow” (fluid and physical dynamics simulation for visual effects), “Maxwell Render” (physically correct, advanced lighting and render engine), and “XFlow” (Computational Fluid Dynamics for engineering applications).

Ancient inspiration: Luminaries by Hiroyuki Murase and Suzusan.

These beautiful luminaries use an ancient Japanese textile finishing technique called Shibori (translated as wring and twist) to give a three dimensional structure to fabric. Hiroyuki Murase, the designer of these luminaries and founder of Suzusan the company that produces them, comes from Arimatsu, a town between Kyoto and Tokyo. His family also has a long tradition working in Shibori.

He has taken the traditional techniques and applied new materials, such as polyester, and found new techniques, such as heat-treating, to permanently lock-in the three dimensional forms and structures. This experimentation has allowed him to create these enchanting textile shades, as well as many other products such as clothing.

Over the centuries, a variety of different Shibori techniques were developed which allowed each craftsman to create a artisan’s signature for his work. The fabrics were also dyed further enhancing the crafted nature, and individuality of the products. Hiroyuki Murase still works in this tradition using fine materials such as dyed silk and wool for his clothing line.