exterior of a brewery in southern germany in the evening, the skylights and windows are illuminated

In Southern Germany, A Small Brewery Proves Less Is More

With a restrained material palette and industrial inspiration, mehr* Architekten craft a local icon in Kirchheim unter Teck, near Stuttgart.

A small new building for a start-up brewery in Southern Germany proves that good architecture and good beer have more in common than many realize.

The home of brewing startup Braurevolution is located in an utterly unobtrusive industrial area outside the historic city center of Kirchheim unter Teck, about 22 miles southeast of Stuttgart, Germany. It sits among car dealers, chip shops and loveless office buildings; the site’s only advantage appears to be that it lies immediately adjacent to a large interchange. This is certainly not the best neighborhood to open up a brewery that also serves as a beer garden and event venue. But, as its designers at mehr* Architekten point out, the context also “provides an industrial architectural language and inspiration.” Like a good beer, their minimalist brewery building only needs a handful of ingredients to create a self-confident, distinct taste. With concrete, metal, and industrial glass, this is a simple industrial building, a minimalist house to work in. Yes, it is about “less is more,” Mies van der Rohe’s famous dictum. But the real challenge is about the precision in what you do with this “less”.

interior of a modern brewery in southern germany

It is about the precision of the position. Together with the older buildings nearby, the small new building creates an open courtyard, and towards the street, a low concrete wall makes just enough space for a small beer garden under a large old tree. Here, the building shows what is its strongest facade visually, largely closed and made of exposed concrete, crowned by an asymmetrical, raked skylight. It looks like a scissor-cut silhouette or a graphical icon for an industrial building on a traffic sign, a very clear form that can be understood in a second. To prevent the building from becoming just a touch too austere or hermetic, the architects cut an extra-large round window in the wall and painted the metal door, a very subtle entrance, in a light pastel green that subtly connects to the mild green of the industrial glass that covers almost the entire northern facade. This generous glass surface soaks the inner space in subdued daylight while at night it also turns the building into a glowing object, almost like an oversized lantern for this underprivileged area.

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exterior of a modern brewery in southern germany made of cement with large windows and skylights

Inside, there is one single space of 8,000 square feet, almost completely unpartitioned. The materials reflect the architects’ minimalist sensibility: The roof is of steel painted white, and the industrial floor has a light grey coating. A single-story installation of prefab exposed concrete modules houses sanitary facilities and the cooling system, while the little office above is clad in wood. Otherwise, all machinery necessary for brewing like kettles, pipes and tanks is placed visibly in the space. The entire interior installation can be easily dismantled if the use of the building changes, a possibility since the brewery merely rents its space. In the worst case, if the beer that’s brewed here doesn’t attract enough guests, the building itself is strong enough to find a new use without losing any of its persuasive powers.

interior of a modern brewery in southern germany

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