Gravity, Eindhoven

Gravity, Eindhoven NL, Project Team: René van Zuuk , Athina Athiana, Wiola Gaura, Design: 2016

The Eindhoven Sint Trudo corporation, seeking to redevelop the Woensel West neighborhood, held an architectural competition, in October of 2016. The competition aimed to improve the area's general image by creating architectural sculptures, serving as landmarks for the district. The plot lies at the corner of Edisonplein and Franklinstraat. The requirements demand a volume of up to three floors, of 35m² each. In our proposal, the structure is made out of two elements: a typical ground-floor building volume, crowned with a two-storey free-form structure. The ground floor houses the entrance, a storage room and the electric facilities. The volume has a large window facing the street side, and can provide space suitable for a studio or communal activities. The free-form, pavilion-like construction, houses an apartment, and is made of EPS.

Aiming for a fast and inexpensive construction, we developed a cutting method that allows us to cut layers from a block of polystyrene (EPS) without residual waste. With this method, rings are cut from a sheet of EPS by using a computer-controlled filament. By cutting the rings at an angle, we get nestable building elements that not only fit together, but can also be stacked. The EPS walls also serve as insulation. The shape of EPS can be finished in many ways, such as with stucco. In this project we chose to create an expressive form, but to blend it with the surrounding area in terms of the materials used. The EPS surface is coated with a fabric cloth on the inside, and then plastered with a special mortar. On the outside, the fabric cloth will also be applied, but then the facade is layered with brick strips. The fabric-reinforced finishes on both sides of the EPS, create a strong self-supporting sandwich panel.

The concrete volume of the ground-floor, forms the basis for the construction of the two floors. The structure protrudes and is supported by a cross-shaped construction that transfers its forces to the concrete corner walls of the base. The first floor is directly attached to the base. The stability of the second floor is ensured by columns and braces that transfer their forces directly to the base. The roof only stands on columns that are clamped from the first and second floor.