Print and media centre for the Schleswig-Holstein newspaper publishers, Büdelsdorf

Interior fittings: construction and installation

Completion 2001


The task put to Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau was to design, create and install a so-called media wall. The term “media wall” referred to integrating the most diverse types of media, including touch screens, into the wall. Thus the idea to publicly present the work of the print and media centre was born. The wall extends over two floors and is visible from both levels near the stairwell. Since the structure draws on the building’s three-dimensional axis, each individual seam in the wall had to be aligned to it. That was the only way to achieve visual consistency to the integrative architectural effect. This in turn required extreme dimensional accuracy, putting true challenges in practice. Ostensibly, a grid or a modular structure would seem to be a helpful solution. But since the individual trades, for instance drywall, work with different tolerances, the potential for serious discrepancies was great. Such differences would have to be reconciled by the last trade in the chain, in this case the interior furnisher, namely Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau. Making it all that much more difficult for us was that we were not working with traditional DWH wood material, but instead with brittle aluminium. Reconciling differences in measurements would not be possible by modifying the joint width; joint widths of this order of magnitude (in this case 5 mm) do not allow for differences of even a single millimetre without endangering the harmony of the seam pattern. The only way was to forgo uniform sheet sizes. The suppliers of the aluminium sheets therefore had to guarantee precise dimensional and angular accuracy. DWH fitters adapted the length of the sheets to the given axes. That entailed far greater logistics and additional manual endeavours, but in the end it was all worth the effort. The minimum differences in the sheet sizes are not visible; the smooth seam pattern is expertly adapted to the building’s contingencies. That can be seen in the open stairwell and the elongated hallways. An endless array of functional units is concealed behind the closed structures of the wall. Doors, storage areas and media equipment have all been fitted within the aluminium sheet grid, invisible when closed. All in all, a total of 5.8 tonnes of aluminium was processed – although not without a few unusual problems. To wit, a door of conventional construction measuring 1 x 2.20 metres would have weighed 48 kilograms, this would have been a mass of such weight that only visible pivot or conventional hinges could have held. The technical designers solved the problem by decreasing the weight of the door, opting for a sandwich construction to the wing units for the door leafs, milling pockets on the reverse (non-visible) side. This project was yet another pioneering step in material-bridging interior fittings, its task being rooted in the faithful realisation of architectural blueprints and drawing on all engineering possibilities.

Text: Rainer Baginski
Photo: Bernadette Grimmenstein