Mercator one

Duisburg, Germany
Hadi Teherani Architects

Striking, elegant and sustainable

For this new building, Hadi Teherani Architects almost completely dispensed with plastics and composite components and instead relied on a few sustainable materials. Ceramic tiles from the Nova collection of Agrob Buchtal make a significant contribution to creating an elegant and at the same time pleasantly neutral background for the individual rental areas in the circulation and sanitary areas. With its clearly structured facade of uniform floor-to-ceiling windows and a strictly rectangular grid of anthracite-coloured aluminium panels, the new building radiates an unagitated calm.

Stringent material concept as a plea for the circular economy

A decisive factor in the choice of materials for this project was the tight budget, which, however, was not inconvenient for the architects. After all, they did not want to create glamorous architecture anyway, but a solidly elegant building whose character reflects Duisburg as a city of workers and the metal industry.

Ceramic tiles as a sovereign frame

"In line with our intention to use only pure, honest materials, the interior of the building conveys the same puristic, elegant impression as the facade”, says Muley. "The public areas, such as the foyer and the lift corridors, follow the credo 'rough and tough', which suits the Ruhr region." Thus, after passing the foyer glazing, which is printed with a pixelated world map as a reminiscence of the cartographer Gerhard Mercator, one stands in a puristically designed foyer with authentic, raw materials. The walls are cladded with natural fibre-reinforced concrete slabs. The doors and letterboxes are made of waxed sheet steel, the dark colour of which corresponds with the window profiles. And the floor is covered with ceramic tiles from the Nova collection of the brand Agrob Buchtal in the colour basalt. The 60 x 120 cm tiles with their irregularly stony-earthy design merge seamlessly into the lift lobby. There, the clean carpet of the foyer continues as a central band of mid-grey tiles in the sense of visual accessibility. In addition, there is a kind of inlay work of alternating basalt and mid-grey tile strips, which points to the lift button in the form of an arrow.

Pleasantly unpretentious

Those who take the lift upstairs, which is also equipped with large-size ceramic tiles from the Nova collection, reach the distribution corridor, which are characterized by only a few selected materials. Their sanitary areas and kitchenettes have the same basalt-grey floor tiles as in the foyer - partly complemented, however, by basalt- and mid-grey wall tiles. The puristic stringency, thought through down to the smallest detail, finally ends at the doors to the rental areas. There, it becomes clear what a pleasantly neutral background the access and sanitary areas form, which in turn underlines the individuality of the rental units.

Fit for the future

The timeless aesthetics far from fashionable short-lived trends is just as much a guarantee for a long service life of the building as the durability and high quality of the materials. For example, the robust ceramic tiles from Agrob Buchtal, made of natural clay, have the in-plant "Hytect" coating, which provides valuable additional benefits day after day: this innovative solution not only minimizes the cleaning effort, but also eliminates air pollutants and unpleasant odours and has an antibacterial effect without chemicals. Other future-proof features include the fact that no composite materials are used, thus facilitating subsequent recycling, and the flexibility of the floor plans.

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Photographer: Jochen Stüber

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