ZRS Architekten Ingenieure was founded in 2003 as an integrated design and engineering partnership in Berlin. With our two firms ZRS Architekten GvA mbH and ZRS Ingenieure GmbH, we provide a large range of services including architecture, structural engineering, building certification, sustainability consultation, specialist assessments, material development and testing as well as academic work in the form of research projects and teaching.
With responsibility for more than 60% of worldwide CO2 emissions and its status as the world’s largest consumer of non-renewable energy resources, the construction industry is directly responsible for the dramatic state of our planet and it’s rapidly deteriorating climate. As designers we see it as our responsibility to minimise our societies reliance on our planet’s finite fossil resources.
In pursuit of this aim we have developed our key competency in the use of natural building materials, primarily timber, earth and bamboo. With ambitious clients and partners our projects aim to promote the innovative usage of local and renewable materials both at home and abroad.
Our activities encompass the complete spectrum of architectural services throughout all work stages (LP 1-9 HOAI and FIDIC). Using our wide ranging expertise we can develop innovative and efficient solutions for projects that use resources responsibly and address a growing worldwide awareness for the need to pursue healthy and environmentally conscious architecture. Using our large network of trusted specialist consultants and collaborators we are able to co-ordinate large projects in Germany and abroad as lead consultants.
Natural materials such as earth and timber are energy- and cost-efficient as well as fully recyclable. Moreover, when used in construction they can absorb pollution, regulate air humidity and create a superior room climate. Our low-energy timber and earth buildings, insulated with cellulose, do not require additional mechanical ventilation, thereby reducing life-cycle costs while maintaining high levels of end user comfort. Over a long period we have gathered experience using earth, timber and bamboo as building materials, helping situate us as an internationally leading office pushing the boundaries of what is possible with natural building materials. We are co-founders of the dieNACWACHSENDEstadt network, allowing us to further explore these ideas in an urban context.
Our wide ranging experience allows us to provide a full range of engineering services from design consultancy at the concept stage, through to detailed structural calculations, workshop planning and the on-site supervision of works. We take an integrated approach to planning, working together with architects and clients in the early phases of a project to find an appropriate and sustainable structural concept. The calculation of the thermal and mechanical properties of structures (building physics), fire safety and noise insulation are for us an integral part of the planning process to be considered during the early design stages. When designing building structures we draw on the entire palette of available materials giving special focus wherever appropriate to sustainable building materials such as earth, wood or bamboo.
Our comprehensive experience of planning and supervising the construction of earth building projects is regularly requested by both other architecture and design offices, as well as construction firms around the world. We can assist architectural and engineering services in all phases of a project in the capacity of a specialist planner, professional consultant or in the on-site supervision of works.
We develop concepts for the sensitive conservation and restoration of listed historic buildings and monuments in Germany and abroad. Our work is based on a respect for historic techniques and materials that allow new concepts for the use of these buildings to be developed. Our extensive experience in the Middle East has gained us international recognition for our expertise in this field and we offer conservation consultancy and design services from our branch office in Abu Dhabi. Furthermore we are members of ICOMOS and sit on the Board of Directors of the ICOMOS committee on earthen architectural heritage (ISCEAH).
Our Laboratory is specifically equipped to handle the testing of earthen materials as prescribed by DIN regulations or for other private requirements. Various manufacturers of earthen building products consult us during product development due to our expertise, experience and facilities.
Our competence within the sphere of sustainable and earthen building allows us to participate as an SME-Partner in national and international research projects. We work with international partners to develop cutting edge solutions in the field of natural and recycled building materials.
We regularly provide expert assessment of damages to buildings, particularly those made of earth. These reports can serve as a basis for developing appropriate renovation or conservation strategies. We also serve as expert witnesses for private purposes or court action.
Our expert team is led by Prof.Dr.-Ing Christof Zigert, accredited consulting engineer and surveyor of ‘damages to earth constructions’ (IHK Berlin) and contains consulting engineers and surveyors in the fields of earthern building and historic timber constructions. Additionally our laboratory is with a variety of specialised equipment allowing us to undertake advanced analysis of field samples.
We are trained energy consultants for both residential and public buildings with a KfW certification as on-site consultants. As accredited auditors we are able to provide sustainability consultation and certification under a number of recognised systems. We provide life cycle assessments for our projects and aim to develop material concepts based on re-use and longevity.