Electrical substation

Foto © Christian Richters
Foto © Christian Richters
Client Client

Innsbrucker Kommunalbetriebe AG

Building area: 2.518 m²

50/10 kV Substation

UNStudio: Ben van Berkel with Hannes Pfau, Jacco van Wengerden and Gianni Cito, Ludo Grooteman, Laura Negrini, Casper le Fèvre, Eli Aschkenasy, Hjalmar Frederikson, Hans Sterck, Boudewijn Rosman, Yuri Werner

Engineering: Peter Ladurner-Rennau, Innsbruck
Building physics: Peter Fiby, Innsbruck

A consistent plane that contains future projections lends unity to the location and exerts an alternative form of control over potential developments. The foundation of a coherent surface that is capable of absorbing later pragmatic differentiation is a simpler and richer option than trying to govern future development of the site by spinning a web of anticipatory regulations.

Smart surface; towards material incorporation

The leftover plot bordering the crowded centre of Innsbruck is defined as a plateau made of one material that follows and incorporates the folds of the landscape like a flexible skin and even covers the electrical substation on the location. The plateau contains the potential for future development on this under-exploited site: lines of sight and directions of movement are traced in the ground plane, forming a virtual infrastructure.

The electrical substation is smoothly incorporated into the plateau, like a hump in the landscape. Glass strips, which illuminate the building from within, contribute to the acceptability of the building. Instead of being an alien technical object that poses a threat to its surroundings, the switching substation is thus integrated, almost domesticated, in its placement within the town.

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