In 2010, Sauerbruch Hutton was named the winner of a competition to design a new building for Germany's State Ministry for Urban Development and the Environment in Hamburg. The design, which features rounded edges and rainbow-colored stripes, adds a much-needed burst of color to a city that is often cloudy and gray. The energy-efficient building just opened after more than two years of construction, to coincide with the International Building Exhibition - and it looks just as colorful as it did in the architect's renderings.
The new state ministry building is one of the most energy-efficient buildings in Germany. It requires just 70 kWh/m2, compared to a typical building from the 1970s that would have required about 280 kWh/m2 per year to cover its energy needs. Beneath the entrance to the building there is an energy control center for a new local heating system run by HamburgEnergie, which draws heat from geothermal and solar thermal sources. About 1,000 new energy piles were buried under the foundation of the building, providing geothermal heat in the winter and cooling in the summer.
The building consists of one 13-story high-rise that is flanked by several five-story mid-rises. In addition to geothermal heating, the building will take advantage of natural daylighting, highly efficient thermal insulation, and natural cross-ventilation. The new facility is expected to improve worker efficiency within the ministry, because it consolidates four different offices that were previously found in separate locations. The building will anchor the new Central Wilhelmsburg district, which is the main attraction at this year’s International Building Exhibition.