Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hysolar Research Institute

          The Hysolar Research Institute is part of the University of Stuttgart campus in Stuttgart-Vaihingen, southern Germany. The building was completed under the leadership of Gunter Behnisch, who, at the time, was the director of Behnisch & Partner, as well as teaching at Stuttgart. The building is considered to be an important example of deconstructivist architecture – an opposition to the ordered rationality of modernism and postmodernism. Influenced by the theory of deconstruction, deconstructivism is characterized by fragmentation and the use of non-rectilinear shapes to create images of unpredictability and controlled-chaos; seeking to disorient observers. In his design of The Hysolar Research building, Behnisch intended to deny the possibility of spatial enclosure altogether.
The building makes use of factory-made containers as laboratory rooms due to a tight schedule and budget. Behnisch took this opportunity to explore the use of prefabricated elements in an unorthodox manner, creating a collage of seemingly free-floating elements that exist in spatial equilibrium. The roof, walls, and windows all seem to explode outward avoiding any suggestion of clear, stable masses. The most notable feature of the building is the red tube which starts from the ground north of the building, traverses the hallway, and projects from the south end. Behnisch aggresively played with the entire concept of architecture and the viewer's relationship to it in his concept for the Hysolar building. The disordered architectural elements seem precarious and visually threaten to collapse, shattering any preconceived notion of what buildings should look like – a main tenant of deconstructivism.

              In 2006, under the architectural leadership of Stefan Behnisch, Gunter Behnisch's son, the building was restored and extended in collaboration with Harder III StumpflSome. The renovations were carried out so that the building's characteristic appearance and its main features remained intact, while the building systems were updated to meet modern standards.

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