A Building for Enviromental Protection

A new aluminium facade on the German market

As it is well known, uranium was mined in the former GDR, which was accompanied by considerable pollution of the natural environment. Wismut GmbH has the mammoth task of cleaning up this environmental pollution. In order to be able to comply with this, it was necessary to construct a new building. It was clad with the aluminum composite panels of the Greek manufacturer elval color. A supplier that is meanwhile increasingly winning over the German market's trust. 

Enviromentally friendly building – new aluminiun facade on the German market

Until German reunification, a Soviet-German joint stock company (SDAG) mined uranium in Königstein (Saxon Switzerland). For this purpose, it used a chemical process that even today has a severe impact on the environment and groundwater. To rehabilitate these legacies and recultivate the area, Wismut GmbH, a federal company, was established. It is expected to continue this task until 2045, but some of the company's buildings date back to the GDR era and are now deteriorating. One reason why those responsible were faced with the issue of whether to refurbish the scattered properties or erect a new building. After careful consideration, the choice fell on a new building. Not only could the work be centrally coordinated in it, but it also cut costs.

Building a new edification is cheaper than refurbishing

For this reason, the federal company commissioned Baubüro Freiberg GmbH as part of a public tender. Its main focus was on the planning of office, industrial and scientific buildings. As a result, it was entrusted with the general planning of the building and the associated outdoor facilities. They planned a two-story reinforced concrete building with a floor space of approximately 2700 m² for about 120 employees. On its first floor are laboratory, changing and recreation rooms, as well as the plant control room. The upper floor houses the necessary offices. The facade of the building was to be made of aluminum composite panels, and the planners originally thought of a German manufacturer. However, the company carrying out the work suggested etalbond panels from the Greek manufacturer elval color. These were previously unknown to the planners. For this particular purpose, all parties involved had to be convinced of the equivalence of the product.

A new product on the German market

In order to determine whether the aluminum composite panels met the requirements of the parties involved in the construction, they examined them in detail. They researched where the facade cladding had already been used as well as what experience was available here. They found out that elval color is one of the leading European manufacturers of coated aluminum, founded in 1977, and part of the internationally active Viohalco Group. The company has been involved in the development and construction of numerous prestigious projects worldwide. This long track record, as well as its technical and service-oriented approach, met the requirements and convinced everyone involved of the benefits of the product. They also worked with Michael Neumeyer of Conae GmbH. He is an etalbond sales partner and, together with the manufacturer, was on hand to advise the planners. Thus, the 2500 m² facade was clad with etalbond®FR panels. These are characterized by their mineral core. Thanks to this, they are flame-retardant (B1) in accordance with the fire protection standard DIN EN 13501-1. The core of these panels has a thickness of 3 mm, which is covered on both sides by a 0.5 mm thick top layer of aluminium. As an option, the panels can be manufactured with a total thickness of 3 mm or 6 mm. They can be easily shaped into the desired form with simple tools and, thanks to their distinctly flat surface, are relatively resistant to dirt and easy to clean.

Fully recyclable

For the new Wismut building, the planners opted for the color combination white, gray and green, taking the color of the company logo for the green. The etalbond®FR panels are available in over 60 standard colors. In addition, almost all colors and various surface textures can be supplied according to customer requirements, provided that an appropriate quantity is purchased. The maximum panel size is 8.0 x 2.0 meters. However, the planners of the new Wismut building did not utilize this possibility and limited themselves to panel dimensions of 2.5 x 1.5 meters and 3.0 x 1.0 meters. In order to attach the elements to the reinforced concrete walls of the new building, the craftsmen first screwed brackets to the wall, which served to fasten the vertical substructure (aluminum support rails). The aluminum composite panels were riveted to the rails. In this process, the etalbond panels proved their ease of handling, which often results in shorter construction times and therefore lower costs. Moreover, the facade elements score points for their environmentally friendly and responsible production. They are fully recyclable and environmentally friendly. Residual materials can be recycled for the production of new materials. Thus, the deconstruction of the building - if it is required in 2045 - will present those responsible with a much smaller challenge than the currently facing task Wismut GmbH is facing.

BBF Construction Office Freiberg GmbH
Architecture, Structures, Infrastructure
Räcknitzhöhe 35
01217 Dresden

Enviromentally friendly building – new aluminiun facade on the German market
Enviromentally friendly building – new aluminiun facade on the German market

Further information on the project is also available at Facades/Projects/Wismut.

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