Colorful by day and by night

A new star has "risen" above a former barracks site in the German city of Augsburg: The so-called Urban Star is a seating sculpture made of concrete cubes. The majority of the cubes are colored with inorganic pigments. Additionally, twenty-four cubes are illuminated with colored LED interior lights. 

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Reminiscence of Amerika

The City of Augsburg is gradually converting the district with former US army military barracks to serve a new purpose: The Kobelcenter-Süd urban development district is to become home to an area of residential and commercial buildings. The concept for the redesigning and extending of the area in the Kobelcenter-Süd district creates its own identity with the positioning of sculptural “Stars”.

The “Stars” are a reminder of the area’s extended period of use and the cultural impact made by its American residents. They contain elements of American landscapes and legends contrast that with the use of the area as a functional residential and commercial district.

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The entrance to the new district is at an intersection between two main streets. At the heart of this plaza is an extensive, star-shaped seating- and recreational-sculpture called the “Urban Star”. This sculpture, which is made from colored concrete blocks, is a meeting point that invites and encourages visitors to linger. The “Urban Star” also serves as a link between the barracks area and the urban space.

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Urban Star Sculpture – colored and illuminated concrete blocks

The block-like structure of the cubes and the neon colors of the concrete surfaces make formal reference to typical downtown areas in the west of the USA. The team at the Berlin architectural firm ANNABAU Architektur und Landschaft GmbH planned and completed the “Urban Star” as a light sculpture. The structure is designed to last for a long time; the decision was therefore taken to use inorganic pigments which retain a stable color for several decades and defy the wind and weather conditions.

The majority of the one hundred and eighty-nine blocks are made from through-colored concrete in anthracite, red and yellow; a cobalt-blue pigment developed by Harold Scholz & Co. GmbH is also used.

Twenty-four of the blocks have been produced by LUCEM GmbH and are made from anthracite-colored translucent concrete with colored LED interior lights. In daylight, the colored concrete cubes dominate the scene and invite visitors to linger. As the colored concrete cubes lose their effect with the onset of dusk, the light-transmitting cubes are starting to illuminate from within in the three primary colors of red, yellow and blue. The blocks have dimensions of 84 x 84 cm, and due to the sloping topography of the plaza, a height from 14 cm up to a maximum of 60 cm above the ground.

The surfaces of the concrete cubes have a gently sloping pyramid structure, meaning that no water remains on their surfaces, and the risk of ice forming in the winter is low. Together with the concrete cubes, the paving of the square in light gray concrete paving stones results in a uniform and seamless joint pattern.

The complete case study is also available as pdf-file for download.

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