Photo © Christian Richters
Photo © Christian Richters

Electrical substation

 Back to Projects list
Innsbruck, Austria
Client Client

Innsbrucker Kommunalbetriebe AG

Building area: 2.518 m²

50/10 kV Substation

UNStudio: Ben van Berkel with Hannes Pfau, Jacco van Wengerden and Gianni Cito, Ludo Grooteman, Laura Negrini, Casper le Fèvre, Eli Aschkenasy, Hjalmar Frederikson, Hans Sterck, Boudewijn Rosman, Yuri Werner

Engineering: Peter Ladurner-Rennau, Innsbruck
Building physics: Peter Fiby, Innsbruck

A consistent plane that contains future projections lends unity to the location and exerts an alternative form of control over potential developments. The foundation of a coherent surface that is capable of absorbing later pragmatic differentiation is a simpler and richer option than trying to govern future development of the site by spinning a web of anticipatory regulations.

Smart surface; towards material incorporation

The leftover plot bordering the crowded centre of Innsbruck is defined as a plateau made of one material that follows and incorporates the folds of the landscape like a flexible skin and even covers the electrical substation on the location. The plateau contains the potential for future development on this under-exploited site: lines of sight and directions of movement are traced in the ground plane, forming a virtual infrastructure.

The electrical substation is smoothly incorporated into the plateau, like a hump in the landscape. Glass strips, which illuminate the building from within, contribute to the acceptability of the building. Instead of being an alien technical object that poses a threat to its surroundings, the switching substation is thus integrated, almost domesticated, in its placement within the town.

Other Projects by UNStudio

Erasmus Bridge
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Music Theatre
Graz, Austria
Mercedes-Benz Museum
Stuttgart, Germany
Galleria Department Store
Seoul, South Korea
Collector's Loft
New York City, USA
Theatre Agora
Lelystad, Netherlands