A new building at Lienz, housing the Research & Development Centre for Durst, the Bressanone world leader in high-quality digital printing on photographic paper, has been built by Kaser to plans by the firm of Architekturplus. Standing five storeys high, the Centre is like a giant crystal with 24 differently inclined faces, the total glazed shell running to 2,000
sq m. Reinforced concrete floors rest on a structure of steel stanchions set in from the perimeter by as much as two metres in some places, so that the outer portion of floor slab juts out in a cantilever. So as not to overload the floor platforms, Kaser devised a structurally free-standing façade network, anchored top and bottom but simply bracketed onto the floors in between on which it casts none of its weight. The structural trusses are made of roughly 10 cm diameter tubes which go to form a lattice of polygonal units. Onto this the façade anchors, with its 650 mirror panes each of different glass. The metalwork was done on site - welded, treated, painted and mounted - it being impossible to transport the metal cells once assembled. The panes are standard double-glazing units formed of a 10 mm outer of toughened glass, a cavity of 14 mm, and an inner pane of 8+8 stratified low-emission glass with Raico Therm + 76 S-I System.
As well as surmounting structural, logistic, performance and site-management problems, the shell thus obtained makes a striking aesthetic impact. It stands out from its surroundings, reflecting a distorted picture of the sky and neighbouring mountain peaks. After dusk the inside lights up and the complex prism shape is seen to even better effect.