JENA – In a city where the roots of history run deep, an imprint of modern architecture is making its presence known. Berlin-based architectural firm J. Mayer H. has unleashed the urban renewal project Sonnenhof in Jena, Germany. The mixed-use structures reside amongst a cluster of buildings, beyond its day and age. The design showcases sharp edges and an asymmetrical form, in contrast to the symmetrical surrounding context. The buildings project a glimpse into the evolving future, without being an eyesore.
In order to create a connection between the old and the new, the architects have designed a small-scale outdoor space surrounded by the four new buildings. The breathing space allows for composite circulation allowing people to move freely. The functionality of spaces varies from office, retail and residential, tying the various activities into one. It seems like the Sonnenhof inhabits a small world of its own in a medieval city. Conceptually, the design demonstrates a well-orchestrated harmony. The façade walls – showcasing the irregular-shaped black windows – complement the smooth, white background. The colour scheme carries through to the ground covering the outdoor space, creating an illusion that shadows are being cast by the surrounding buildings. The choice of material and colour palette are what brings the architecture together without overpowering the rich history existing outside the new plot.
In our modern world, where society is constantly evolving, the Sonnenhof is a small glimpse of what we can expect from future structures. It is a blend of styles amidst the historic and the urban renewal, embodying flexible pattern use.
Photos courtesy of David Franck.