The worlds of architecture and construction products meet at the BASF Architects Day

Held in cooperation with DETAIL magazine, the BASF Architects Day combines discussions on architecture with information about the latest developments in industry.

The Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, designed by Henning Larsen Architects, provided a fitting venue for the event on November 22, 2018.

Keynotes by four leading architects and four expert presentations in the Sample Rooms were the highlights of the joint event hosted by BASF and DETAIL. The BASF Architects Day took place for the second time in Frankfurt on November 22, 2018 under the title “Light and Space.”

Reacting flexibly to changing homes and workplaces

Over a hundred delegates attended the event for architects and planners at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. Werner Frosch, one of the four keynote speakers, used one of his reference projects to illustrate important questions related to space and interaction with users. After all, constantly changing homes and workplaces are having a direct influence on the language of architecture. As a result, he and Henning Larsen Architects believe that buildings must offer flexible and multifunctional zones and areas that can be used individually.

As an example, Frosch pointed to the BASF PU flooring installed throughout the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. The durable flooring in the corridors of the first floor is divided into colored zones. Students can use these flexibly for presentations, interaction or focused group work

Light and space as architectural design principles

In his keynote, Patrick Lüth from Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta focused on the use of light and space. This was the main topic of the Architects Day and is a key element in Snøhetta projects. With offices in Oslo and Innsbruck, the firm is famous for its use of unconventional designs and a human element that keeps its buildings down to earth. Furthermore, selected projects such as at Swarovski in Wattens, Austria are characterized by a high degree of participation and a desire for comfort. This involves above all the use of both natural and artificial light, as according to Lüth, we spend 90% of our lives in enclosed rooms.

Images from the Architects Day in Frankfurt

Moderator Tim Westphal (photo: Felix Will)
Sample Room – Light: BASF presents the new light guidance project Skynative® (photo: Felix Will)
Speaker Patrick Lüth, Snøhetta, expounds the topic of “light, space and overall context in architecture” (photo: Felix Will)
Sample Room – Insulation: Roland Streng, BASF, answers questions about Neopor® (photo: Felix Will)
Sample Room – Insulation: Frank Reuter, BASF, demonstrates Cavipor® (photo: Felix Will)
BASF Architects Day at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management (photo: Felix Will)
Participants in BASF Architects Day (photo: Felix Will)
Impression of BASF Architects Day (photo: Felix Will)
Sample Room – Insulation: a participant tests HoloLens smartglasses enabling interactive visualization of Styrodur® (photo: Felix Will)
Moderator Tim Westphal with speaker Werner Frosch, Henning Larsen Architects (photo: Felix Will)

Redefining sustainability

Dominik Wirtgen from Fischer Architekten in Mannheim, together with Prof. Nathalie Essig from the Munich University of Applied Sciences, focused on production technology, energy and building life cycles in their keynotes. Wirtgen’s firm has spent many years optimizing production processes in construction and reducing the use of gray energy. The massive reduction in concrete construction has proved a major corrective factor here. He also conducts research into lightweight, high-quality facade elements that use fiber concrete. Here, BASF provides fibers that are used as aggregate in the concrete, as Wirtgen showed using a number of successful projects.

Prof. Essig leads the building climate control department in the architecture faculty at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. In the closing presentation, she emphasized the need to redefine the concept of sustainability. We need to not only consider the energy used in production, but also the working and production conditions on the construction site and in the materials’ countries of origin. Energy used in delivery and the operation of the building are other important factors. This is because, according to Prof. Essig’s calculations, operating costs alone make up over 80% of the total costs over the building’s life cycle.

Live discussion: flooring, concrete, light and insulation

In the four practically focused Sample Rooms, experts provided comprehensive background information on innovative products and sustainable solutions using selected BASF materials. The company used a prototype to showcase its Skynative® daylighting system, which is based on the principle of light deflection. By delivering more natural light, it increases well-being while saving artificial light.

One of the four topics in the insulation Sample Room was Cavipor®, a patented, mineral-based, three-component system that creates an in-situ foam. This non-combustible foam is particularly well suited to cavity wall insulation in renovations, helping to make old double-shell masonry more energy efficient. Delegates also had the opportunity to find out about the versatile applications of the green extrudable polystyrene hard foam (XPS) Styrodur®. The product was showcased using HoloLens smartglasses and the interactive visualization of a 3D model house. The expandable polystyrene (EPS) Neopor®, a gray modification of Styropor®, is a cost-effective solution for facade insulation in external thermal insulation composite systems. The material has building control certification and meets Germany’s tough fire protection standards.

SLENTITE® and SLENTEX® are high-performance insulation materials that deliver tailored climate management. SLENTITE® is an organic PU aerogel in the form of a robust panel. It is 25 to 50% slimmer than conventional insulation panels, allowing for greater design freedom, and was awarded the German Design Award 2018. SLENTEX® is a permeable, flexible and noncombustible high-performance insulation material that enables slim and highly efficient thermal insulation in building elements.

The concrete additives Sample Room built on the reference projects of Dominik Wirtgen and explained how the plastic fibers work in MasterFiber, a product which provides a strong but lightweight alternative to conventional steel reinforcement.

In the fourth Sample Room, delegates could find out more about BASF’s wide range of performance flooring products. The Frankfurt School of Finance & Management provides a perfect example of these products in use. Applied in liquid form, MasterTop flooring systems combine durability with design freedom. They form a homogeneous and easy-to-clean surface for applications in areas like healthcare and education.