Public Works and Architecture

It is frequently the case that the construction of public works, or technical infrastructure, gives little attention to design and architecture, often building merely practical structures for the minimum possible cost. Ironically, such structures often result in neglect, lack of care which results in additional costs for maintenance and renovation over the longer term.

Recently, however, a pumping station on the Rhein river in the “Zollhafen” quartier of Mainz has been constructed with attention to displaying the workings of the building, integrating it into the environment, and a building that is also aesthetically interesting.

The city of Mainz is protected from flooding by one of the largest levy-bank systems in the world. As such the pumping station (‘Hochwasserpumpwerk’) has been constructed like the tip of an iceberg, with the main part of the structure being located below the levy at a depth of 16m below ground.

The design of the building is equally influenced by its location (in an urban setting), and its function (pumping flood water, the outlet system and the weir system). The structure is monolithic but in keeping with the rock wall of the river embankment. It is connected via a foot bridge which allows views of the deep structure, and the building materials are angled and roughly worked to allow for the maximum play of light and shadow while still providing a resilient and sturdy exterior.

Project Information:

  • Architect: schoyerer architekten BDA, Mainz
  • Builder: City of Mainz

Photo credit: BDA KV Nürnberg, Mittel- Oberfranken. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from Bund Deutscher Architekten.

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