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Existing storage center becomes symbol of renewable energy for a southwestern German town

The tower’s design comes from the Laboratory for Visionary Architecture’s (LAVA) winning competition entry for an energy park and storage tower.

August 07, 2017 |
A rendering of the reimagined energy tower in Heidelberg from LAVA

Rendering courtesy of LAVA

The new design for an existing storage center in Heidelberg, Germany attempts to take an existing boring cylindrical tower and turn it into a knowledge center, tourist attraction, and symbol of the transition towards renewables.

The Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) won a competition that sought a design for an energy park and accompanying energy storage tower. The tower will replace a gas storage tank with a water tank. Wind and solar energy harvested on site will heat the water, which will then be sold. 

The new tower, which will be one of the tallest buildings in Heidelberg, is a multi-layered façade structure inspired by the geometries of nature. An inner shell colored in different shades of blue wraps around the building. Tilted elliptical rings are positioned around the cylinder and continue in the outer façade with “energy loops” that circle the structure all the way to the top. A cable network between the steel rings forms the outer façade layer.


A rendering of the energy tower in Heidelberg, GermanyRendering courtesy of LAVA.


The building will receive its striking appearance courtesy of 11,000 diamond-shaped plates made of thin stainless steel. These plates are hooked with a connection system to a steel network that allows them to twist up to 45 degrees in the wind, which makes the building appear to move and fluctuate with the sun and wind.

Visitors to the new tower will enter through an elliptical entrance level where two elevators take them up to the roof, which comprises staggered terraces, event spaces, and a bistro. The roof can also be reached via a spiral staircase that travels around the outside of the tower.


A close-up of the roof space included in the energy tower in Heidelberg from LAVARendering courtesy of LAVA.


The building has recently broken ground and will rise 56 meters with a diameter of 26 meters. The accompanying energy park site will occupy 10,000 sm. Construction is scheduled for completion in 2019.


Rendering of the energy tower from LAVARendering courtesy of LAVA.

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