Hans Funk leads the design team at HENN for this new 9,450-square-metre circular building called Brainergy Hub, located in Jülich at the heart of a new knowledge park dedicated to sustainable and renewable energy research.
HENN’s design team used innovative materials, form, and renewable technologies to create the Brainergy Hub which will not only use passive energy but will produce extra energy for the building.
The building will function as the brain and battery of the Brainergy master plan.
Located along the Autobahn, HENN’s distinctive, circular design acts as a lighthouse, symbolizing Germany’s shift towards renewable energy and a green future.
The Brainergy Hub’s distinctive design uses innovative material and renewable technologies to create a passive and energy-producing structure that will function as “the brain and battery of the Brainergy masterplan”.
Since the project will be located along the main highway, the circular building acts as a lighthouse, symbolizing Germany’s shift towards renewable energy and a green future.
The design team chose a circular form for the hub since it’s “omnidirectional—democratic—always equal.”
Its circular footprint allows the building to be as pragmatic and efficient as possible, resulting in a pixelated-like unit of repetitive elements that serve as a highly flexible modular system.
The circular footprint and balcony inscribe a pixelated cloud of highly rational structural elements.
Drawn on a modular system, this layout also allows for easy subdivision and a playful infill of solid and void spaces.
The grid is punctuated by a large central atrium and four smaller courtyards that vary from single height to triple-height, providing fresh air and daylight to the building’s occupants.
HENN’s flexible system contains spaces for seven companies, with collaboration spaces and communal programs located around the central atrium.
The main spiral staircase leads visitors through this extroverted space, while the circular balcony and external staircases will act as shortcuts for employees and allow the office modules to operate independently.
The recessed ground floor of the Hub creates a strong north-south axis on the site, linking a lake to the north and an existing orchard to the south.
Brainergy Hub is made of a hybrid structure of timber, concrete, and steel.
HENN uses warm wood for interior cladding, while timber will be used for columns and beams.
In addition, concrete slabs offer efficient spans and thermal mass for passive heating and cooling strategies, and the steel balcony and exterior stairwells will offer to stiffen structural support.
Solar panels are deployed on the roof and the facade: photovoltaics rotate with the sun along with the Hub’s circular balcony, transforming the building into an energy-producing sundial.
The Hub is a cog in the master plan’s network of passive buildings, any excess energy produced is given back to the network.
Project: Brainergy Hub
Architects: HENN GmbH
Partner in Charge: Hans Funk
Project Director: Marcin Kropidlo
Design Director: Leander Adrian
Team: Klaus Ransmayr, Sam Weston, Ferdinand Fleckenstein, Oliver Koch, Carlota Gomez Touet, and Andre Serpa
Client: Brainergy Park Jülich GmbH