A ‘living’ façade in harmony with nature

The BRUNNER family business based in Eggenfelden, Germany has been designing and manufacturing high-quality stoves and fireplaces since 1946. Following the decision to move into the production of heating and boiler systems in 2010, space became increasingly tight, which led to the construction of a brand new facility. This was designed by local architect Prof. Markus Frank and comprises two modern buildings, which display innovative and distinctive craftsmanship both inside and out. The extraordinary façade ties in well with the future-oriented nature of the BRUNNER business.

A new office building with attractive workspace and a new 4,500 m2 heating technology building were designed. It accommodates training rooms for employees and customers, engineering and testing laboratories and a warehouse and shipping section. The key role of wood in fuelling BRUNNER products is reflected in the natural design and feel of both buildings, clad in Rockpanel boards. Visitors to the buildings are also surrounded by wood. The sense of space is incredible – over nine meter high rooms, impressive vaulted ceilings and large concrete areas combined with natural warm materials, such as rammed earth and solid wood, leave a lasting impression on the visitor.

As flexible as wood and stylish as Corten steel

The building has a warm and natural appearance. It was crucial that the cladding did not interfere with the clear style of the building or exceed the overall budget. Corten steel and larch shingles were also considered as clad- ding materials. The objective was to have homogenous surfaces with a ‘unique character’ using affordable building materials. Architect Prof. Markus Frank came up with a number of different solutions: ‘For the façade, we were thinking of wood or rusting iron tones. Stacked wood is after all an integral part of BRUNNER products.

Building materials are only truly organic if they are compatible with their surroundings and prevailing climate. Like with classic wooden façades, there should be a certain weathering effect.’

Purist, naturally, unique and robust

Prof. Frank found the perfect solution with Rockpanel Natural. The look of these robust basalt panels is matured by sunlight and natural weathering. Just as wood weathers and changes hue, the initial yellow-green colour of the uncoated boards darkens after about six weeks, resulting in a particularly natural and unique façade.

Offices and factory of the Brunner family business in Eggenfelden, Germany with Rockpanel Natural exterior cladding

The facts

Client
Ulrich Brunner GmbH, Eggenfelden

Architect
Prof. Markus Frank, frank architekten GmbH, Eggenfelden

Contractor
Mangertseder Zimmerei & Holzbau GmbH, Arnstorf

Exterior Cladding panels
Rockpanel, Roermond, The Netherlands

Modern insulation

The cladding contractor, Mangertseder Zimmerei & Holzbau GmbH, installed permeable insulation panels made from non-combustible stone wool (ROCKWOOL Fixrock 035), ensuring a modern thermal insulation of the façade. The Rockpanel Natural façade boards were attached to a wooden substructure. The scale and alignment of the substructure had to correspond with the highly specific design drawn up by Prof. Frank and his client.

  

Managing Director Ralf Mangertseder recalls: ‘The installation plan was constantly adjusted in consultation with the client while we provided numerous samples. But the reward for this commitment was great – a truly individual façade, which is both modern and natural at the same time and fits in perfectly with the BRUNNER ethos. The V columns and the joint pattern of the façade panels left and right of the main entrance are like stylised trees, which is exactly what Mr. Brunner wanted’.

Easy to work with as wood

‘In total, we installed over 6,268 m² of 10 mm Rockpanel Natural boards, he explained. “And we were very impressed with the user-friendliness of the materials, especially when it came to cutting the boards for the heating technology building. Even though the panels are made of basalt and are therefore very strong, they are as easy to work with as wood, plus the same tools can be used.

The material is self-coloured and insensitive to moisture, so neither the surfaces nor the cut edges or drill holes had to be touched up or sealed. All the panels were easily attached using toning screws.’ He and his team were so pleased with Rockpanel cladding materials that they want to continue working with them as much as possible in future. ‘It would not have been possible or at least would have involved significantly more effort to execute the complex installation plan for the office building using any other product.’

Anthracite tones

Ralf Mangertseder’s team used anthracite grey Rockpanel Rockclad boards (RAL 7016) to clad the bridge between the office building and the heating technology building. The grey colour contrasts nicely with the warm brown tones of the two buildings. Ulrich Brunner is very happy with the result: ‘We value individuality and have a very unique corporate culture in every respect. That is why we took the time to develop a very distinct and minimalist façade to showcase our beautiful offices and showrooms. The building is impressive without being pompous – that is how we wanted it and that is how it is perceived by our guests’.