Hamburg’s electrical utility, HEW, is one of Europe’s strongest proponents of solar
energy. When the aging and poorly-insulated facade of the company’s customer center in Hamburg’s prestigious central shopping district needed replacement, HEW chose Kiss + Cathcart to provide an energy and resource-efficient solution.
Kiss + Cathcart’s solution drapes a photovoltaic (PV) glass skin over the existing building. This skin insulates against moisture and temperature extremes, and also pulls away from the front of the existing building to enclose a first floor wintergarden and shade a streetside cafe. Most importantly, the PV facade actively generates electricity and heat year-round. The “second skin” approach has the further environmental benefit of eliminating the need for demolition and disposal of the existing facade. The new skin is a complex curving form comprised of over 1,200 custom glass and PV modules. One of the most complicated curtain walls ever constructed, this project will demonstrate that PVs can perform in the most demanding architectural applications.
This project has won two major solar design competitions: the AIA/DOE (American Institute of Architects and USDepartment of Energy) 1996 competition, and the Association of German Architects and German Federal Ministry of Science and Technology competition in 1997.
The project was completed in 2000.