Ernstings Factory Storage

JA+U : Archives - Ernstings Factory Storage by Santiago Calatrava

This issue contained a feature on the work of Santiago Calatrava, who had only established his office five years prior. In 1985, Calatrava designed the facades of this textile company factory in Coesfeld, Germany (formerly West Germany).

JA+U : Archives - Ernstings Factory Storage by Santiago Calatrava

What is impressive about the project is the way in which the architect accepted a fairly prosaic commission and transformed it into something surprisingly ingenious and sublime. The same idea - the proliferation of linear elements into a curving gesture - would be evolved into far grander, more sculptural works later in the architect’s career.

JA+U : Archives - Ernstings Factory Storage by Santiago Calatrava

JA+U : Archives - Ernstings Factory Storage by Santiago Calatrava

On one side, the facade is composed of aluminum shutters, composed of thin strips that hinge in the middle. The location of the hinges varies across the width of each shutter. When closed, the hinges form a slightly curved score line across the door.

JA+U : Archives - Ernstings Factory Storage by Santiago Calatrava

When the door is lifted upwards, each strip hinges separately to form a graceful arcing portico over the loading areas.

JA+U : Archives - Ernstings Factory Storage by Santiago Calatrava

Fixed corrugated aluminum cladding undulates along the sides of the warehouse.

JA+U : A+U September 1986

Photography of the original magazine cover by Alastair Hunter

The photos in the original article were taken by Paolo Rosselli.