The Practical Made Beautiful
What you see above is a hydroelectric power station in a medieval town in Germany. ! Oh how I love when practical, necessary things are made beautiful.
A hydroelectric station from the 1950s that supported 3,000 homes with clean energy every year previously existed in this same spot, and when it needed to be rebuilt, the town bypassed plans for a standard station in favor of this more contemporary, sculptural beauty by local firm Becker Architects.
In contrast to most hydroelectric stations, which, by their form, look like the evil sorcerer come to harness the power of the water and beat it into submission, the design of this one takes its direction from water itself– the station has been compared to “a river stone,” “a fish,” “a frozen wave,” and a “stranded whale.”
The approachable, organic form creates a link between the town and the river, where a typical industrial design would have closed one off from the other. The inside, with its arches and curves, is like “a cathedral in raw concrete” and houses the necessary equipment.