The future of plastering



Yes, indeed – when I think of façades of spectacular buildings, the “Elbphilharmonie” in Hamburg (see picture) immediately comes to my mind. After a long period of back and forth, it will eventually be opened in January 2017.

Not only the ever rising costs and extreme time delay have made it a subject of hot debate, but also the impressive façade made of multifunctional insulating glass.

It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s eye-catching nevertheless: the office building of the northern German bank Nord/LB in Hanover (see picture). It has a ferroconcrete skeleton structure, which is cladded with glass fibres all around. To me it looks a bit like a twisted magic cube.


These are only two random examples of more or less new buildings. They show, however, that I also think of glass and steel facades first when it comes to modern façade design.

Just why is it that plastering for facades of new buildings seems to be considered only second choice? Is it due to lacking innovations in technology and design, as the project initiators assume? Is it a boring material? Does plastering have a low-cost image, compared to glass and steel, that it cannot get rid of? Or do interesting plastering developments exist in spite of this, like marble plastering, mineral plastering or combinations of plastering and stone?

The project “Rendering codes/Zukunft Putz” is asking these questions. In the first part of the research work, past and present of plastering were studied. Now the “Institut für Zukunftsforschung in der Gestaltung” (Institute international Trendscouting IIT HAWK Hildesheim) and the section “Putz & Dekor” of the Assocation of Germand Paint and Printing Ink Manufacturers (VdL) want to further develop the product in an interinterdisciplinary dialogue and thus make it viable for the future. “This materials plays an important role in our cultural area”, Prof. Markus Schlegel, professor of colour and architectural design and project development at HAWK, emphasised in an interview.

I’m keen on hearing about the outcome of this interdisciplinary dialogue between designers, architects, craftspeople, industry and students.

What do think must happen to make plastering ready for the future? Write to me at:

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