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A wavy facade glitters in the sunlight, looking just as though it were covered in ice crystals. This modern look might give the impression that the building is brand new, but that is most certainly not the case. This building is actually rather old, but it has undergone a complete energy-efficiency overhaul with the help of the company Oliver Helmke in cooperation with Bayer MaterialSciences and Innovation City Bottrop – and today it is Germany’s very first Energy Plus office building.

“When we were planning the facade, we looked for a material that could give us the wavy aesthetics we wanted – and something with an extravagant surface,” says architect Anna Vering, who led the project at Helmke. Another criterion was that the material needed to have a texture and color that allowed it to fit in with its existing surroundings – and it needed to be environmentally friendly. PLADUR® Relief iceCrystal from ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe was just the material the owner had been searching for: high-quality flat carbon steel with a surface that shimmers like the ice crystals once did on the building’s windows. Of course, the triple-glazed windows on this new Energy Plus building have turned icy glass into a thing of the past.

While the material already graces many industrial building facades in the form of sandwich elements, this is its debut role as a facade for a high-quality, multi-story building such as an apartment complex or corporate office. “Visually, PLADUR


Relief iceCrystal is a dream come true. I love that the material allows us to create such clear edges,” beams Vering. And this facade has more than just good looks: “It is resistant to scratching and dirt, and thanks to the zinc-plating and the organic iceCrystal coating, it is effective in protecting against corrosion as well,” says Klaus Kottkamp of the Construction Initiative at ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe. The material resists wind and weather as well as the effects of time – all the while increasing the value of the property. It also offers excellent value for money, and on top of it all, the material is recyclable and does not lose quality through the recycling process. The recycled steel is of the highest quality and just as valuable as primary steel.

PLADUR® Relief iceCrystal prevents corrosion.

Klaus Kottkamp, Construction Initiative, ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe



Relief iceCrystal also provides the customer with a wide variety of processing options. It can be curved, stretched, or bent, it can be shaped, cut, joined, and bonded with other elements – all without cracking the material or compromising the stability of the facade.

“The processing and detailed finishing took quite a while, but it all went very well,” confirms Lars Werner, Managing Director at HSP-Fassaden, which processed the elements and installed them on the building. “The 1.25-milimeter-thick steel sheet is perfect for curved facades.” HSP-Fassaden delivered the finished elements straight to the construction site, and within just a week the building had a whole new wardrobe.

The concept was very well received by Innovation City Rhine-Ruhr. Since 2010, the Innovation City Management team has been working together with industry partners to develop ideas and solutions for rebuilding cities to make them more environmentally friendly and securing the future of industry.

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