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Werner Sobek

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Werner Sobek has seen the future, and it’s high-tech, green, and efficient. The architect, engineer, and teacher’s wandering intellect and belief in the power of design have left their marks across disciplines and continents.

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  Sobek is particularly enthusiastic about textiles (the altar he built for the Pope’s visit to Bavaria in 2006 makes use of a fabric “tent”), which he finds both tactilely pleasing and rife with potential for high-tech applications like solar energy harvesting.  Courtesy of: Zooey Braun PHOTOGRAPHY
    Sobek is particularly enthusiastic about textiles (the altar he built for the Pope’s visit to Bavaria in 2006 makes use of a fabric “tent”), which he finds both tactilely pleasing and rife with potential for high-tech applications like solar energy harvesting.

    Courtesy of: Zooey Braun PHOTOGRAPHY

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  SWM Heilbronn is a one-story office building—mostly constructed using reinforced concrete—wrapped in a stainless steel fabric.  Courtesy of: Johannes Marburg
    SWM Heilbronn is a one-story office building—mostly constructed using reinforced concrete—wrapped in a stainless steel fabric.

    Courtesy of: Johannes Marburg

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  Completed in 2000, the R128 exemplifies Sobek's  Courtesy of: Roland Halbe
    Completed in 2000, the R128 exemplifies Sobek's

    Courtesy of: Roland Halbe

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  Ten-percent of Sobek's projects are related to industrial design, such as the Airport Chair.  Courtesy of: Wolfgang Schmidberger
    Ten-percent of Sobek's projects are related to industrial design, such as the Airport Chair.

    Courtesy of: Wolfgang Schmidberger

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  Sobek's extensive use of glass cladding for his projects effectively blends interior and exterior space, while providing plenty of natural light.  Courtesy of: Zooey Braun PHOTOGRAPHY
    Sobek's extensive use of glass cladding for his projects effectively blends interior and exterior space, while providing plenty of natural light.

    Courtesy of: Zooey Braun PHOTOGRAPHY

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  Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok, Thailand. From the main building the gates are reached via concourses, consisting of a system of flattened tubes.  Courtesy of: Rainer Viertlboeck
    Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok, Thailand. From the main building the gates are reached via concourses, consisting of a system of flattened tubes.

    Courtesy of: Rainer Viertlboeck

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  As it was designed to be a temporary structure, Sobek chose to construct the Hamburg Cruise Center from steel shipping containers.  Courtesy of: Juergen Schaefer
    As it was designed to be a temporary structure, Sobek chose to construct the Hamburg Cruise Center from steel shipping containers.

    Courtesy of: Juergen Schaefer

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  Until 2010, the Hamburg Cruise Center will be used for registration and baggage check-in of cruise passengers. The roof structure is encased in translucent panels that are illuminated from within.  Courtesy of: Cristoph Gebler
    Until 2010, the Hamburg Cruise Center will be used for registration and baggage check-in of cruise passengers. The roof structure is encased in translucent panels that are illuminated from within.

    Courtesy of: Cristoph Gebler

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  Burda Media Park, completed in 2000, was, like most of Sobek's projects, a collaboration. Sobek didn't design the building, but, rather, assisted in the structural engineering of the load-bearing structure.  Courtesy of: H.G. Esch
    Burda Media Park, completed in 2000, was, like most of Sobek's projects, a collaboration. Sobek didn't design the building, but, rather, assisted in the structural engineering of the load-bearing structure.

    Courtesy of: H.G. Esch

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  A filigreed membrane structure, designed by Sobek, protected against threatening rain during Pope Benedict XVI’s first official visit to Germany.  Courtesy of: Zooey Braun PHOTOGRAPHY
    A filigreed membrane structure, designed by Sobek, protected against threatening rain during Pope Benedict XVI’s first official visit to Germany.

    Courtesy of: Zooey Braun PHOTOGRAPHY

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  Sobek engineered the curved roof shell and beamless slabs of Burda Media Park in Offenburg, Germany.  Courtesy of: H.G. Esch
    Sobek engineered the curved roof shell and beamless slabs of Burda Media Park in Offenburg, Germany.

    Courtesy of: H.G. Esch

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  The interior of the Hamburg Cruise Center. As it is temporary, Sobek designed the roof with recycling in mind—the trusses are constructed using wooden beams.  Courtesy of: Cristoph Gebler
    The interior of the Hamburg Cruise Center. As it is temporary, Sobek designed the roof with recycling in mind—the trusses are constructed using wooden beams.

    Courtesy of: Cristoph Gebler

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  H16 is a fully recyclable, zero-emissions house near Stuttgart that consumes no energy and blends in with the landscape.  Courtesy of: Zooey Braun PHOTOGRAPHY
    H16 is a fully recyclable, zero-emissions house near Stuttgart that consumes no energy and blends in with the landscape.

    Courtesy of: Zooey Braun PHOTOGRAPHY

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  For the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, designed by Murphy/Jahn Architects, Sobek created a patented membrane that allows natural light in but keeps heat and noise out.  Courtesy of: Rainer Viertlboeck
    For the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, designed by Murphy/Jahn Architects, Sobek created a patented membrane that allows natural light in but keeps heat and noise out.

    Courtesy of: Rainer Viertlboeck

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  R128, Sobek’s family home (featured in Dwell’s May 2003 issue), is a groundbreaking example of green design with zero energy consumption, emissions, and waste.  Courtesy of: Roland Halbe
    R128, Sobek’s family home (featured in Dwell’s May 2003 issue), is a groundbreaking example of green design with zero energy consumption, emissions, and waste.

    Courtesy of: Roland Halbe

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  Werner Sobek in his office.  Courtesy of: Baerbel Schmidt
    Werner Sobek in his office.

    Courtesy of: Baerbel Schmidt

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  The objects on Sobek's desk illustrate his varied interests and highlight his belief that design and engineering should be interconnected.  Courtesy of: Baerbel Schmidt
    The objects on Sobek's desk illustrate his varied interests and highlight his belief that design and engineering should be interconnected.

    Courtesy of: Baerbel Schmidt

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  Sobek and those in his office believe in providing the link between high-level engineering and architecture. A better understanding of engineering, Sobek argues, will open up entirely new possibilities for architects’ thinking.  Courtesy of: Baerbel Schmidt
    Sobek and those in his office believe in providing the link between high-level engineering and architecture. A better understanding of engineering, Sobek argues, will open up entirely new possibilities for architects’ thinking.

    Courtesy of: Baerbel Schmidt

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  An early iteration of Sobek's Airport Chair sits in the office.  Courtesy of: Baerbel Schmidt
    An early iteration of Sobek's Airport Chair sits in the office.

    Courtesy of: Baerbel Schmidt

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  A concave surface inside one concourse of Suvarnabhumi International Airport is juxstaposed with a continuous vertical surface.  Courtesy of: Rainer Viertlboeck
    A concave surface inside one concourse of Suvarnabhumi International Airport is juxstaposed with a continuous vertical surface.

    Courtesy of: Rainer Viertlboeck

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  The membrane Sobek designed for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Germany in 2006.  Courtesy of: Zooey Braun PHOTOGRAPHY
    The membrane Sobek designed for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Germany in 2006.

    Courtesy of: Zooey Braun PHOTOGRAPHY

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  Design is as important as any other element in Sobek’s work. Structures like the H16 house can’t just work well and function environmentally; they have to look good, too.  Courtesy of: Zooey Braun PHOTOGRAPHY
    Design is as important as any other element in Sobek’s work. Structures like the H16 house can’t just work well and function environmentally; they have to look good, too.

    Courtesy of: Zooey Braun PHOTOGRAPHY

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