© Dirk Melzer Landschaftsarchitekt & Umweltingenieur, v-architekten

pumping station Cologne-Rodenkirchen // Dirk Melzer Landschaftsarchitekt & Umweltingenieur, v-architekten

Uferstraße, Rodenkirchen, Köln, Germany

Architizer Editors Architizer Editors

Text description provided by the architects.

PUMPING-STATIONCOLOGNE-RODENKIRCHEN Dirk MelzerLandschaftsarchitekt& Umweltingenieurin cooperationwithv-architektenGmbH, Cologne Builtlandscapes in the floodplains SITEThe high water pumpingstation is situated at the point where the city meets the countryside. A17-storey block of flats marks the beginning of the city’s Rhine embankment.The pumping station backs onto an alluvial forest in a protected area ofoutstanding natural beauty.

© Dirk Melzer Landschaftsarchitekt & Umweltingenieur, v-architekten

© Dirk Melzer Landschaftsarchitekt & Umweltingenieur, v-architekten

TASKAt the time when thecompetition was announced, the technical engineering phase of construction hadalready been completed. The building itself is around 11 metres below groundwith only around 4 metres visible above ground. The site measures 3.500 m2in total. The idea of the competition was that it did not appear to be abuilding, but a “built” or man-made landscape. CONCEPTThis effect was achieved byencircling the town-facing side of the high water pumping station with a curvedwall of basalt.

© Dirk Melzer Landschaftsarchitekt & Umweltingenieur, v-architekten

© Dirk Melzer Landschaftsarchitekt & Umweltingenieur, v-architekten

At the same time, on the forest-facing side, long, wooded banksrun into the countryside. In order to enhance the top view of the pumpingstation from the neighbouring tower block, the roof was landscaped with densegreenery and plants. The curved form of the wallalso allows for the incorporation of a long, sloping ramp that provides vehicleaccess to the pumping station roof.

© Dirk Melzer Landschaftsarchitekt & Umweltingenieur, v-architekten

© Dirk Melzer Landschaftsarchitekt & Umweltingenieur, v-architekten

The wall “flows around” thebuilding. The theme of “flowing” is taken up again in the newcladding around the existing sewage pumping station. The extant building withits simple brick facade is integrated into the overall concept by enveloping itwith a shimmering, perforated skin of steel plates. The holes in the metalplates create an impression of washed up drift-wood frequently found in thearea.

© Dirk Melzer Landschaftsarchitekt & Umweltingenieur, v-architekten

© Dirk Melzer Landschaftsarchitekt & Umweltingenieur, v-architekten

EXECUTIONMETAL CLADDINGThe pattern of the metalcladding is created by the intertwining arrangement of individual rectangles ofequal length but three different widths. In an additional work step, therectangles are welded together at their points of intersection. The pattern wasnot created using a random generator, but a drawing programme where eachindividual rectangle is arranged according to formal, structural and staticconsiderations.

© Dirk Melzer Landschaftsarchitekt & Umweltingenieur, v-architekten

© Dirk Melzer Landschaftsarchitekt & Umweltingenieur, v-architekten

After that, the total circumference of the cladding wascalculated. Subsequently, the design is seamed together into an endless loop.
The steel plates are held in place via a substructure of steel profiles. In thespace between the metal facade and the outer walls of the building, simplestaircases provide access to the building for maintenance and inspectionpurposes. BASALT FACADEIn the construction of thenatural stone wall, basalt was used, as is traditional in embankment constructionin Cologne.

© Dirk Melzer Landschaftsarchitekt & Umweltingenieur, v-architekten

© Dirk Melzer Landschaftsarchitekt & Umweltingenieur, v-architekten

Normally, columnar basalt is used. But since this is not suitablefor curved masonry work, basaltic lava was chosen instead. Quarried basalticlava is a byproduct from the production of road metal, extracted during thefirst run-through through the crusher and sieve. Elongated and loaf-shapedstones are hand-sorted directly during quarrying. Since the basalt wall is aheavy-duty wall, the best quality stones are used for the visible walling.Lower grade stones were used for the bulk construction.

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