The art of connecting the old and the new

Date: 6 July 2015
The small town of Iphofen in Lower Franconian, Germany has a lot of historical flair. Because, in spite of all historical rigour, it was able to maintain its historic town centre almost completely.  Medieval and baroque link together in harmony - a pleasure to look at.

Since May 2015, an ensemble of the 21th century enriches the town's centre. And there is glass from Wernberg which literally keeps the old and the new together.

Iphofen has a turbulent history. Several times the town was devastated by pest infestations. Phylloxera destroyed nearly all vines in the surrounding vineyards. Furthermore, the annals speak of a heinous crime where the murder of a local parish priest remains unsolved. However, the people of Iphofen must be made of a special fabric; otherwise, they would not have been able to manoeuvre this small town without sustaining any damage for hundreds of year. This "special something" manifests itself also in their language: People here are referred to as Iphöfer and not Iphofer.

But let's return to the town's core and its architecture. For a long time, there was discontent among the people of Iphofen and disagreement about the urban planning in the heart of the town. After an architectural contest and a democratic seesaw, it became clear: We keept the old and build the new. The old school house was kept and refurbished. In its immediate neighbourhood the new Service Centre was constructed and Iphofen expects to see additional economical benefits from this.

A cuboid bridges the gap between the old and the new, its facade being covered entirely in glass. This handshake proved to be a challenge, not only architecturally but also from a glass-refining point of view. The internationally renowned glass sculptor Reiner John provided the design. FLACHGLAS Wernberg was selected to proceed with the construction.

The crux of the vitrification task was complex: Each piece of glass has a different size, each piece off glass has a multi-layered structure and each piece of glass has a different colour. Furthermore, every piece of glass had to be prepared for a special mirroring coating process. Coordinating time schedules itself proved to be an engineering feat.

Considering the quantitative effort, the Iphöfer facade was a relatively small project. However, the aesthetic and logistic demands required considerable expertise and numerous, simultaneously available resources. The result is definitely very impressive. The glass surface measures approx. 105 m² and links the 21th century with its predecessors. It symbolises impressively what has always distinguished Iphofen from others: the artistry to let the past shine through the present.

600450 The art of connecting the old and the new

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