Partnership with Architects
Studio Reichenberg arhitektura was founded by architect Bogdan Reichenberg in Maribor in 1990. The Reichenberg architectural firm has won numerous awards, including the Prešeren Fund Award in 1980, the Borba Award in 1986, the Golden Coat of Arms of Maribor City Award in 1993, the Plečnik Medal in 1998 and the Footbridge Award in 2008 as well as two Trimo Architectural Awards, in 2003 and 2007.
The Reichenberg architectural studio and the Trimo company have been working together for a long time. In 2003, you received the Trimo Architectural Award for the original architectural design of the Leykam 2 printing plant, followed by the Special Award for the efficient design of industrial complexes in 2007. What is your take on your long collaboration with Trimo? What do you remember most?
In 1994, we designed Leykam’s first printing plant in Slovenia. Having liked our approach, the Austrian investors hired us to design four additional printing facilities and the administrative building. We collaborated with Trimo throughout the design process. We adapted the modules of the individual facilities to the flexibility and the intelligent design of the façade panels. In 2003, we received an award for the second facility in the printing plant, followed by an award for the whole complex in 2007, which by then included four facilities and an administrative building. The architectural premise of the printing complex was to create a neutral but not an anaemic presence that unassumingly reflects what is happening inside. An enigmatic colourless black box, if you will. The administrative building has the appearance of a peeled and stripped hall with printed glass surfaces in primary CMYK colours. The printing process taking place inside the building is therefore hinted at through its appearance. In Trimo, we found a partner that we could rely on to fulfil our wishes and requests.
We live in a time of the rapid development of new materials and technologies that attract the modern architect. How do you make the right choice considering all the materials available on the market? On what basis does the architect make this fundamental professional decision regarding the design of the façade envelope?
Our basic guideline is to consider materials for their principal expressive value. Wood should remain wood and stone should be stone. We only start thinking about appearance in terms of material after the design process has defined the warm and the cool features, separating the solid from the soft. The materiality of the parts of the building that can be touched is determined for reasons of design baselines. This means that the shape and the material design of the façade are the results of a creative process. It is important for the architect to be familiar with new products and their advantages, but they need to be able to use them in ways that complement the architectural concept.
Trimo’s innovative new façade systems increasingly gravitate towards project-based solutions, further underlining the need for early and close cooperation with the architect. The arrival of the new era of BIM project design will strengthen communication between stakeholders. Do you expect it will be easier to connect with the manufacturers of façade systems in the future?
It seems that in the future, all manufacturers and project designers will work closely together. The development of BIM has reached a stage where its practical application is already possible. It is rarely used in Slovenia, though, because it is not mandatory. By amending regulations, project design could be elevated to a new, higher level that would be more attractive to investors. Being a kind of collection of spatial data on all projects, BIM enables greater design precision and more predictable execution.
During its period of cooperation, Trimo established contact with many architects and designers, including through the organisation of the Trimo Architectural Awards, the Trimo Urban Crash, etc. How important is it for Trimo, as a manufacturer of façade systems, to be involved with architects in different ways and why?
The participation of the manufacturer of a part as important as the building envelope is vital for quality architecture. Through the Urban Crash competitions, Trimo is reaching out to young architects, which I think is a smart business move because it establishes communication between the young architects and technologists who can give them all the support they need. Trimo makes first-rate products and employs first-rate technologists, making this a positive experience for young architects. Based on the insights they gain, they will be more likely to opt for Trimo than a competitor’s system in the future. The fact that Trimo is organising these Architectural Awards shows that it has an enlightened attitude to architecture and the built environment. It shows its respect for the architect’s responsibility to protect the public interest.