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The historical Stuttgart plant where Mercedes-Benz took shape and came to life has recently been rounded off by an outstanding new building: the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Fifty meters high with a “rising spiral” structure, this building is a particularly suggestive example of how current architectural trends successfully blend shapes with today’s inevitable energy and housing needs, using technological solutions which have only recently become truly feasible.
The use of glass as a roofing system and an architectonic feature has been remarkably extended to cover a variable-geometry steel support system for a total surface area of 6200 square meters. This covering is finished with starburst folded metal panels curved to obtain a spherical form.
Even the roof uses glass as a continuity element: there are more than 600 square meters supported by a structural framework of welded steel-section beams.
The designers, particularly the UN Studio van Berkel & Bos of Amsterdam, have taken the use of glass into special consideration, fully exploiting the most advanced technological resources which have made it one of the most versatile materials, to successfully wed creative expressiveness with meeting energy-saving parameters and using renewable energy sources which have now become fully or at least partially mandatory in all advanced countries.
The vertical panels are composed of low-emissivity solar-control glass; the inclined internal surfaces have double-glazing systems with 10mm-thick tempered glass, an internal cavity of 16mm and 12mm-thick double-glazed safety glass; the external surfaces instead increase the thickness of the double-glazed safety glass to 16mm.
For the roof, insulating glass units have been provided with similar thickness but using solar-control glass.
Perfect thermal insulation, careful control of the solar factor (maximum luminosity, the right filtering of solar heat to produce the best fall and winter benefit while avoiding overheating during the summer) and a reduction in energy costs have been the guiding criteria for the design and realization of the glass elements. For this reason, all the I.G. units have been finished with Chromatech steel spacers produced by Rolltech, the Danish company and member of the Glass Alliance network widely recognized for the excellent performance its steel and stainless steel spacers achieve and guarantee over time.
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