Buildings use 40 % of all energy consumed in the world. How can we work efficiently with renewable energy in this area? How do we build in a time of scarce resources? Do we really need heating systems?

Baumschlager Eberle Architekten say, no, and with the „2226“ in Lustenau, Austria, they provide proof that one can master the coming energy revolution with intelligent architecture. They built „2226“, a house that works entirely without building technology. A house surrounded by mountains that even survives in winter – notably an Austrian winter!

A VERY FITTING NAME

The secret behind the idea is that the compact building stores heat in 75 cm thick brick walls, releasing it slowly again over time. The house is never cooler than 22 inside and never warmer than 26 degrees. Which is the meaning behind the building name, based on the universally recognized comfort indoor temperature of 22 to 26 degrees.

Thanks to the construction technique employed the building does without heating in the winter and without air conditioning in summer, “because all electric current, every person, everything that happens in the building, gives off heat. This is heat that comes from computers and illumination, but above all from the people who work here “, Professor Dietmar Eberle explains.

But the building 2226 also has to be ventilated. iPad-like displays on the wall show air temperature, humidity and CO2 content, as well as the daily, weekly and annual fluctuations that must never go below 22 nor exceed 26 degrees.

A HOUSE THAT CAN THINK

As soon as the values approach certain limits, the specially developed software initiates countervailing measures. Depending on the daily and seasonal norms the narrow casements open or close, or the lights go on or off. For instance, it may happen that on a long weekend, when no one is in the building and the weather outside is icy, that lamps go on in order to raise the temperature to the desired level by drawing on the heat released by the lamps.

2226 also lives from the richness of architectural quality: high ceilings, luxuriously equipped with large format windows flood the room with light, while ample room partitioning create a framework that appeals to all the senses. Add to that the high construction quality and materials from the region, which radiate a deep feeling of simplicity: lime plaster on the walls, which show the signs of smoothing, the industrial character of the concrete floor with, the steep oak tread stairs and several meters long work table made of solid oak, built according to the old handcraft tradition without either screws or nails, and fit together without glue. It is a building which reflects the local tradition of handicraft, a way of building known far beyond the borders of Austria.

2006 06202 2226 Lustenau 018

One of the old oak tables built without any glue, screws or nails.

archphoto, inc. © baumschlager eberle (1)

The large windows and doorways let the natural sunlight in.

WHAT’S NEXT IN THE FUTURE?

For the moment 2226 is still a prototype which embodies all the architectural experience of the firm. After two and half years of field experience and a good number of awards Professor Eberle and his team continue planning and researching. Buildings like 2226 are being planned in Hamburg and Shanghai and in Zürich.

These are projects which will show how the concept can be adapted in different cultural and climatic milieus. Baumschlager Eberle Architekten firmly believes that houses in the future can be built like this – and we are similarly fascinated and excited, where this project is heading in the future!