Natural stone light, large sizes

Refurbishment of the administrative centre of Gelsenkirchen Utilities

The architects' concept for the refurbishment of the office building constructed for Gelsenkirchen Utilities in the 1950s is wholly in keeping with the property's period features. Their aim was to retain the original texture featuring slimline stone elements and at the same time employ contemporary system technology and modern materials to create new accents.

Consequently the vertical arrangement of the façade was emphasised by offsetting the depth with narrower windows and by incorporating printed glass parapets. The planners used Lithodecor's Airtec Stone system solution to implement the new design of the natural stone façade.

Urgent need for modernisation

Surveys confirmed that the anchoring of the original façade had been weakened considerably by corrosion, which meant that it was no longer stable. In terms of architecture and energy efficiency the building no longer met current requirements either. Therefore the ageing façade was due for a complete facelift.

Project completed while work inside continued

For reasons of cost, the client asked for the refurbishment to be carried out without disruption to the work being carried out inside the building, which presented a considerable challenge. Approximately 100 office workers employed by the municipal utilities were affected. At the same time the building's location in central Gelsenkirchen and daily access by the public had to be taken into account.  Thanks to carefully thought-out logistics and meticulous project planning, it was possible to overcome this particular obstacle and any inconvenience to office workers was kept to a minimum.
The Airtec Stone system solution used here also smoothed the path for problem-free modernisation. The ventilated curtain wall façade was installed without compromising the existing construction. The window frames were positioned in front of the parapets and the new limestone panels were hooked into an aluminium substructure without visible fixings.

Monolithic appearance

To replicate the characteristic pillar design, the specified U-shaped elements in three and five sections with 90 and 135 degree corners were manufactured to order at Lithodecor's production plant in Netzschkau near Plauen. At 2.70 metres high, these large architectural elements with their high-quality limestone surface were delivered directly to site.
They enabled precise implementation of the sophisticated design and were used to define the vertical layout of the façade. The horizontal lines were created using large composite panels with a natural stone finish. The panels and shaped elements were hooked into the aluminium substructure of the ventilated curtain wall system without visible fixings.

Airtec Stone

Airtec Stone is superior to most other ventilated curtain wall façade systems in that it offers greater scope for technology and design in realising high-quality natural stone façades. With its technically mature solutions for details, customised shaped units as architectural elements and the reduced weight of Lithodecor's composite panels compared with conventional constructions using solid stone slabs, this façade system offers architects and planners a wide range of options.

Development project

Hauptverwaltung der Stadtwerke Gelsenkirchen


Emscher Lippe Energie GmbH, Gelsenkirchen


Gatermann + Schossig Bauplanungsgesellschaft mbH & Co.KG, Köln
ConstructionDipl. Ing. Hölscher, Stahlbau, Leichtmetallbau, Kleve
FaçadeSystem Airtec Stone
Main area1.200 m²