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.
We plan according to international standards such as ISO and EN. We have also been working for several years in the system of voluntary sustainability assessment in the building industry, such as DGNB, BNB and are a DGNB member.
We are ISO 9001 certified and work according to the quality principles of the standard.
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.
Seit der Gründung verfolgt das Büro einen forschenden Ansatz, bei dem Architektur und Bauingenieurwesen zusammen wirken. Über experimentelle Projekte haben wir die Möglichkeit genutzt, innovative Konstruktionen zu entwickeln und in der Praxis zu testen. Dabei ging es immer darum, Gewohntes zu hinterfragen und nachhaltige Lösungen zu entwickeln, die den Nutzer*innen dienen. Über unsere nationalen und internationalen Forschungsvorhaben wurde dieses Experimentieren auf ein wissenschaftliches Fundament gehoben. Die Forschungsprojekte geben uns die Möglichkeit, drängende Themen der Zeit, wie Kreislaufwirtschaft, Ressourceneffizienz oder die Low-Tech-Bauweise, auszuloten und voran zu bringen und die dringend benötigte Bauwende im Bausektor voran zu treiben.
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.
Fire protection certificates and fire protection concepts are required as part of the approval planning as a construction document. We develop and elaborate object-specific fire protection concepts, provide advice in the implementation planning and, due to our experience in the object supervision of building construction, also offer special fire protection technical construction and object supervision.
Especially through our core competence in building with natural building materials, such as wood and clay, as well as our realized timber construction projects, we apply our knowledge for fire protection in timber construction.
We demand highest requirements for the quality of our services. Therefor we did implement a quality management (ISO 9001:2015) into our company structure and processes. The maintenance and refinement of our quality management is audited annually by TÜV Rheinland.
Company policy of ZRS Architekten Ingenieure
Our quality policy is the foundation of our actions. The way of our office development is determined by it and functions as a base for our quality management.
Custumer focus: As a customer oriented Service Company we process our projects with and for our customer to archive maximum comforts. Not only we like to create customer oriented solutions, that are able to be inbound into planning phases, but also we value the ongoing exchange with our customer over the long period of project realizations. Due to this procedure we reach a high contentment with our customer and look forward to future collaborations.
Ecological service offer: Meaningful for our future oriented constructive form is the usage of natural building materials, the reduction of energy consumption, low aid of Technik (welche Technik? maschinelle oder händische) and a building lifecycle. Essential for these realizations are local and regenerative materials like timber, clay and bamboo.
Future oriented mentality: To bring our comprehension of sustainable development closer to our customer and other involved and interested parties, we research, develop and test new solutions. Thus creating also our own solutions, we gain the opportunity to incorporate them into our designs which add an extra status to it, as well as accompany and supervise them after a finished project.
Sustainable office It is an ambition of our office to be responsible with the usage of resources. For that reason and for the point of ecological aspects we enhanced our office rooms with clay. Further we choose contractors and suppliers, which also have a sustainable policy. For example we are client of the GLS Bank, an ecological financial institute and we use green electricity from natural power. In addition we like to become a paperless office.
Integrative planning and realization: We think through, discuss and realize building projects in a public discourse with the society and experts. A close collaboration, exchange and communication with different actors and cultures provide us a wide knowledge and a capability of working out contextual solutions and products.