Work

Haus der Energie, EAM

Kassel, Germany

1992

Architect : Bieling & Bieling/ von Gerkan, Marg & Partners
Client : Energie Aktiengessellschaft Mitteldeutschland
Project size : 276 sq metres (2971 sq feet)

The headquarters of the energy generating company in Kassel, the city famous for its art, was designed by Bieling & Bieling and von Gerkan, Marg & Partners of Hamburg. The whole of the road facing wall of the building is made up of Clarke's glass. Split into two levels, the upper area, a franchised restaurant catering for the daily needs of the 500 employees is host to a highly coloured and exuberant construction of huge amorphic forms. The central area of each doorway was left clear and transparent by the artist. This achieves numerous ends inducing the retention of substantial ambient white light in the space whilst providing an element of privacy. Also, the relationship between the internal space and the external gardens and major auto-route into the city is harmoniously married. When inter- viewed about this extraordinary space the office staff from the company expressed great enthusiasm for the optimism it created. Clarke's first proposal of the connected entrance hall, which is a huge and light filled three-storey space was also with substantial colour. Through a series of carefully orchestrated stages he finally settled on a proposal for the removal of the field of colour in favour of white opalescent glass. like milky water. Though transparent, this material acts like a gentle filter of gossamer. The central areas are again left clear, creating the impression of a series of arcades echoing directly the opposite wall of the entrance hall. In this part of the composition Clarke's ability to link internal architectural space with external natural space at its zenith, and the subtle interplay of colours and transparent tones make this area one of the most remarkable in the recent history of art in architecture.