Clinker cosmos between tradition and modernity:
Urban green quarter in the heart of Düsseldorf
In the east of the state capital, the Grafental residential quarter has been growing since 2012 on a site where trains used to be assembled. Düsseldorf’s newest city quarter benefits from the many advantages of living "between city and forest": A mature, urban infrastructure on the doorstep - and at the same time several of the most popular recreation areas in Düsseldorf, namely Flingern Nature Park, Grafenberg Forest, the racetrack and golf course, practically around the corner. Upon completion of the last construction phase, the new city quarter will comprise more than 1600 apartments, penthouses and a number of town houses.
Despite typical inner city block development, the fifth construction phase of the quarter differs beneficially from the monotonous uniformity of many newly built districts and offers urban living comfort for various target groups through different apartment types and layouts. That is exactly what the firm konrath und wennemar – architekten und ingenieure aimed to achieve; housing blocks that are subdivided into clearly readable individual houses and an overall architectural language specifically based on the classical modernism of The International Style of the 40s and 50s, as Sebastian Knoll, in charge of project for the firm, explains: "Relaxed lightness, internationality and a recognisably clear appearance are the objectives of the design. The individual buildings follow a common design idea but still remain readable". An approach that the architects have succeeded very well in implementing in practice: Walking around the quarter, the facades jump out, the masonry varies in colour and form and the new development site really does look different from every corner.
The design idea for the facade architecture, which is based on the buildings in the surrounding area, is further explained by Sebastian Knoll: "From the building style’s canon of forms, we also developed the elementary components of the facades with their curved loggias and balconies and the corresponding balustrade elements. The stairwells are resolutely readable in the facades, thus forming the anchor around which the facades of the individual buildings are arranged. Clinker and plaster surfaces alternate on the individual buildings; the clinker base ensures that both can age with dignity. The clinker base is also the unifying design element and brings the individual facades together to create a complete ensemble."
In addition to the "Zeitlos" (Timeless) series from the standard range, extruding specialists Ströher have manufactured special series and special products to be used specifically for the project in close consultation with the planners. The facade design of the Grafental building with its numerous protrusions and clad curves demonstrates the optical diversity and wealth of design variations clinker offers as a material. In terms of design, the broad range available from Ströher, which includes long formats and haptically appealing, irregular surface effects, lends itself to modern facade architecture using clinker. On the other hand, clinker facing strips "made in Dillenburg" meet all the requirements of a durable, maintenance-free and sustainable facade material and, in conjunction with an ETICS thermal insulation system, ensure that the building envelope is energy efficient.