German firm, Becker Architects, might have created the most beautiful hydroelectric power station ever.
The bold, amorphous organic form appears equally placid and dynamic, as it lies on the left bank of the Iller River; the new, highly efficient hydroelectric power station replaced an older power station from the 1950’s. This amorphous colossal cement sculpture is perceived by different people in different ways; most see it as a large fish. But for many it can also be viewed simply as a volume inspired by the motion of waves – as if the cement structure had taken shape as a gracefully flowing, swelling mass and then solidified. And although this category of this structure is considered industrial architecture, its sculptural form merely reminds us of it. The form of this hydroelectric power station mimics and exaggerates the channelled dynamism of the water as it streams into the holding basin, down through the turbines, and back into the Iller River.
Kempten in the Allgaeu – Germany is a medieval place, at the foothills of the Alps; not a place to experiment with such forms, or so one could think; however, local architectural office Becker Architecture designed something from another world, this huge sculptural hydroelectric power station. A rather bold and daring move for the medieval city of Kempten, where the 150-meter long large scale sculpture stands. The new hydroelectric power-plant which replaced the older one now supports approximately 3,000 households with 10.5 million kilowatt –hours of environmentally friendly power per year. The planning of the project was nearly completed, until the authorized agency demanded a design that would fit in a delicate manner into the existing building assemblage of the former spinnery mills and the natural landscape of the Iller River.
photos © Brigida González