Light, privacy, sun, weather and anti-glare protection for the Reichstag and other buildings
The original building of the Reichstag in Berlin, which dated from 1894, had a dome, even then. 75 metres tall, the steel and glass structure stretched high into the sky, and seemed extremely modern by the standards of the day. In large measure destroyed during the war, it was demolished on 22 November 1954 because it was structurally no longer safe.
Today’s dome, designed by British architect, Norman Foster, is “a mere” 47 metres high, but has nevertheless proved to be a magnet for the public. The many visitors stroll around under the outer dome, whilst the politicians in the chamber look up at the inner dome, where tailor-made, movable blinds have been fitted for shade and privacy. A convenient feature that the original dome did not have. Manufacturers of the tailor-made blinds are Clauss Markisen, a subsidiary of the “Mechanischer Hachtel Zug” (MHZ) Group, based in Leinfeld-Echterdingen.
“We are always on the look out for technically difficult challenges. We can then be particularly proud if such prestigious and demanding architects as Sir Norman Foster are pleased with our work. That motivates us to always give of our best,” explains MHZ boss, Wilhelm Hachtel.
Clauss Markisen got to work with the world-famous architect again when he renovated the humanities building at the Free University of Berlin, nicknamed the “rust bucket”. The building was constructed in Cor-Ten, a steel supposed to rust in a controlled manner, but which was rusting out of control. It was Foster who saved the building. Part of his plan involved its being sheathed in fabric. Clauss Markisen, market leaders when it comes to special constructions in textiles, installed approximately 1,000 individual pieces – each cut in a trapezium shape and covering a total area of around 4,000 square metres – behind the domed glass façade. Ventilation is provided by built-in stainless-steel grills, and Ethyl Tetra Fluoro Ethylene (ETFE) film allows light to pass.
In 2006 Clauss Markisen manufactured four square, all-weather outdoor umbrellas for the inner courtyard of Schloss Weitra, a castle in the Lower Austrian Waldviertel Region. The fabric was made in woven Teflon (PTFE: Poly-Tetra-Flouro-Ethylene) and has an overall area of approximately 750 square metres. The umbrellas are vertically offset and overlap one another so as to protect visitors from the rain during events.
Even the inhabitants of the three residential Moma towers in Beijing China seek shade from the sun using Clauss Markisen’s products. The s_enn® sunshades made of stainless steel were installed into recesses in the façade there last year. Overall size of this project: 3,000 units covering an area of approximately 16,500 square metres.
Around 1,200 employees work in ten European production plants and turn round some 1.5 million jobs a year, each one made to measure. Not all of them are spectacular but, in general, work for this subsidiary of the MHZ Group begins where the possibilities for standard production items end.
Photos 1, 2 and 3 © Clauss Markisen