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A black and white solution

Nick Myall
Thursday 09 Jul 2015

J. MAYER H. is celebrating the completion of the urban renewal project ‘Sonnenhof’ in the historic centre of the university city of Jena in Germany

Sonnenhof is a mixed use development consisting of four new buildings with office and residential spaces in Jena, Germany. Each striking built structure is distinctively clad with contrasting black and white façades, horizontally continued as part of the scheme’s landscaping. Located on a consolidated number of smaller lots in the historical centre of Jena the separate structures allow for free access through the grounds.

Their placement on the outer edges of the plot defines a small-scale outdoor space congruent with the medieval city structure. Its outdoor facilities continue the building's overall design concept past the edges of the lot. The planned incorporation of commerce, residential, and office space enables a flexible pattern of use that also integrates itself conceptually into the surroundings.

Spanning over approximately half of the lot, the four-building complex leaves a large part of the space open for public use during the day, permitting a free flow of pedestrian traffic across the area. The buildings, situated on the edges of the lot, frame a small, urban courtyard typical of a medieval city. Passages between the individual buildings connect them to the surrounding public-use areas, making it an important junction in the urban network.

The mixed-use concept supporting a small scale, flexible use scenario facilitates a seamless integration into the existing urban fabric, while the design of the outer buildings takes up the geometry of the polygonal shapes in the facade, continuing their graphics across the floor. The resulting surfaces are often extended and ‘programmed’ into the third dimension, forming a sculptural set of wedges and steles integrating such functional elements as flower beds, ventilation openings, seating and lighting fixtures and thus transforming the open areas into attractive, urban leisure spaces.

Nick Myall

News Editor

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