13. September 2022 Online

Online exhibition: Young concepts for the switchgear halls

27 students from five German universities took part in the architecture competition "Transformation 2022 - Switch!". Their task: to develop a sustainable concept for the urban use of the historic switchgear halls in Siemensstadt Square. This resulted in 15 exciting designs that can now be explored in a virtual exhibition - including details on the award and the jury's decision for the winning design.

Young student photographs the interior of the Schaltwerkhalle | Picture © Etienne Girardet

"The quality of these designs hardly differs from that of graduate architects," explains Jan Rehders (Chief Architect Siemensstadt Square) about the concepts of the competition participants. “A lot of time and know-how went into the processing here, as the results show. The fresh, innovative design approaches of the students are exactly the right approach for the complex structure of the switchgear halls.”

Jobs: With a view to the green spaces.
Working with a green view: A design from the winning concept “Wo Zukunft wurzelt“ (Where the future is rooted).

Like the rest of the high-profile competition jury, Jan Rehders best liked the ideas of Sophia Lieberich and Laura Weber, who study architecture at the RWTH Aachen University. Their draft ““Wo Zukunft wurzelt“ (Where the future is rooted) received first place and was endowed with 5,000 euros. “The winners concentrated on the interior with targeted interventions. This created an interesting mix of lots of greenery and zen-like rooms that contrast with the industrial charm of the Schaltwerkhallen,” says Jan Rehders.

Students present their ideas virtually

Now, everyone can convince themselves of the innovative strength of the designs from the competition in a new online exhibition. Here you can visit the Schaltwerkhallen virtually, learn more about the background of the competition and explore the individual designs in detail. The students each present their ideas in a video message and explain how they envision the future of the listed production building.

Screenshot of two female students from the students competition 2022
In the online exhibition, the students present their designs personally - here the two winners Laura Weber (left) and Sophia Lieberich.

Future development: More "young" ideas

Siemens launched this first student competition for Siemensstadt Square together with the “Kulturkreis der Deutschen Wirtschaft” in order to develop creative ideas for one of the biggest transformations in the new quarter: The Schaltwerkhallen are a huge industrial complex that is more than 100 years old. They are to be preserved as a monument, but should be used completely urban in the future - for offices and trade, social facilities, retail, arts and culture, sports and restaurants.

An introductory workshop will be held for each task at the beginning of the respective contest | Picture © Etienne Girardet
Transforming large industrial halls into rooms for humans: Here, the students explore their task on site in the switchgear complex.

After the students have solved this task so convincingly, young urban planners may be involved more often in the further development of the quarter. The ideas and approaches of the students from the competition for the switchgear halls are now being incorporated step by step into the realization of the project.