Famous around the world for their engineering, design and sustainability expertise and employing more than 350 people, Werner Sobek use a wide range of materials to design every type of construction, with a special focus on “lightweight structural design”, i.e. transparent façade systems and sustainable building concepts. The practice’s projects are characterized by high-quality design developed through advanced engineering solutions and sophisticated eco-sustainable technologies. The practice’s main objective is to reach the highest quality standards, as demonstrated by the ISO 9001 certification obtained for its quality management system. Werner Sobek work with many leading architects and firms, including Christoph Ingenhoven, Barkow Leibinger, Henn, Helmut Jahn, Populous, Sauerbruch Hutton, Ole Scheeren, UNStudio, Zaha Hadid Architects and many more.
Werner Sobek, Professor of Engineering, degree and Ph.D. honoris causa.
Werner Sobek was born in 1953 in Aalen, Germany. He currently lives and works between Stuttgart and Vienna. An architect and engineer, he directs the Institute for Lightweight Structure and Conceptual Design at the University of Stuttgart. From 2008 to 2014, he was a professor in Mies van der Rohe’s department at the Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. He teaches at several universities in Germany and abroad, including Graz (Austria), Singapore and Harvard (USA). Since 2017, he has been Director of the “SFB 1244” DFG - Collaborative Research Centre in the “Adaptive Building Skins and Structures” sector. In 2003, he founded the AED, Architecture Engineering and Design Group, in Stuttgart. In 2007, with other architects and engineers he founded the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), of which he was a board member until 2013, and Chairman from 2008 to 2010. In 2011, he co-founded the Stuttgart Institute of Sustainability (SIS) and became its Chairman. From 2006 to 2010, he was Chairman of the board of the HafenCity University of Hamburg, and a Technology and Research consultant at the Technical University of Graz. From 2012 to 2017, he was a member of the Supervisory Board at Harvard University. Since 2013, he has been a member of the Governing Board of the International Center for Culture and Technology Research (IZKT). He has received numerous national and international awards and recognitions.
An approach to architecture that may be defined as contemporary, that is to say, adapted to our time and projected into the future, cannot be one whose forms grow out of the use of traditional materials, inspired by classical or modern models. To develop innovative concepts, the question to ask is not “how have we worked and lived until now?”, but “how should we work and live in the future?”. The answer to this second question requires the mental effort necessary to anticipate unconditionally what the future holds. Although this method may occasionally lead us to an unworkable solution, it is the only approach that can allow us to intellectually justify our work. To paraphrase Hegel: “Fear of being in error is an error in itself.” The architecture of today and tomorrow must be radically different from what came before. It can achieve this by adopting a positive attitude towards the natural environment and its inhabitants, and by enhancing environmentally sustainable technologies.
Triple Zero® is a sustainable architecture standard developed by Werner Sobek. Registered as a protected trademark, it defines the criteria a building must meet in order to achieve high standard requirements for a job’s environmental sustainability. The R128 project is an example of how this standard can actually and tangibly be applied and developed. Wherever possible, Werner Sobek use the Triple Zero® concept as a guide for the design, planning and construction of its buildings. The practice’s consultancy works follows the same criterion.
Triple Zero means zero consumption, zero emissions, and zero waste
The building must consume ZERO energy from external sources. All of the energy needed for its daily requirements, i.e. heating, cooling, hot water, and auxiliary power for all types of domestic applications, must be generated from internal sources.
The building must produce ZERO CO2 emissions. The benchmark value of CO2 produced is that of the daily primary requirement; combustion processes are not permitted.
ZERO waste must be produced when the time comes for the building to be demolished and converted. At the end of its life cycle, the building components from which the structure was made must be completely recycled, without being burnt or disposed of; it must be possible to return the land to nature without contamination or residual waste.