A 100% Recyclable Polycarbonate Envelope for a Bright and Sustainable Building

Our future world is in dire need of climate and resource protection. This isn’t a single issue. It affects all aspects of human life, including mobility, architecture and sustainable living. It is common to believe that building materials, such as translucent panels made of polycarbonate, cannot be sustained. Plastic has had such an impact on the world that it has been difficult to shake the belief that plastic is “bad”. Rodeca is one example of a company that has developed translucent building materials that can withstand for years as an integral part of any construction and are not subject to being quickly disposed off. Rodeca, a manufacturer of polycarbonate panels is always thinking about the future.

Heiler Geiger Architects create a new daycare center at Memmingen

Jorg Heiler, an architect, and Peter Geiger, a German architect, have had great success with the Karoline Goldhofer daycare center project in Memmingen. They have been nominated for prizes and selected to speak and give talks about the complex, holistic design that is the foundation of the new daycare center. Karoline Goldhofer is an excellent example of renovating and building on existing buildings. To create a spacious, modern and environmentally-friendly building, almost 80% of the existing materials were used in the renovation.

Courtesy of Rodeca
Courtesy of Rodeca
Courtesy of Rodeca

Great success

The garage, residential building and old pool were all exposed. These parts were then covered with a translucent wrap made from Rodeca polycarbonate panels. The building was then able to be energetically reconditioned, and updated to meet current sustainability standards. A highly insulated building envelope does not have to be the only way to preserve interior heat, contrary to common construction methods. The alternative option of allowing the sun’s radiation to enter the building was used in the construction the daycare centre. The Reggio pedagogy was chosen by the Alois Goldhofer Foundation as the starting point for the building design. This educational approach is student-centered, constructivist, and uses self-directed, experiential learning in relation-driven environments.

Materials inside were left untreated, as they were found. This allowed for the construction to be completed with materials that are still in their raw state. The 100% recyclable polycarbonate building envelope and the raw steel construction reflect ideas of sustainability as well as adaptive re-use.

Courtesy of Rodeca
Courtesy of Rodeca
Courtesy of Rodeca

Translucent building envelope is key to sustainability

Rodeca’s crystal and opal polycarbonate panels were used for the building envelope. Different transmission levels between crystal and opal panels allow for different light sources in the interior, resulting in varied illumination. The facade of the building features floor-to-ceiling windows and doors made from glass that offer a panoramic view of the natural world. This material adds a strong architectural impression to the building from the outside, while highlighting the beauty of its surroundings inside.

Courtesy of heilergeiger architekten und stadtplaner BDA

Rodeca can use the cover to create additional light-filled spaces and to make the building more energy-efficient without using insulation or heat-retention elements. The envelope makes the structure’s history visible. The 3D simulation of a building has shown that the new building meets 2050 climate targets with less than 5 kilograms per square meter.

Click here to view an exclusive interview with Karoline Goldhofer’s architects about their design plans and the amazing results.

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