In 1997 the architect Volker Ruhl moved back home to Würzburg in Germany after three years at Harvard in the USA and four years in Paris working for Santiago Calatrava. He set up a practice with Thomas Albert who specialises in electrical engineering and business administration. The unusual partnership (they call themselves the ‘odd couple’) has flourished and together they have built a number of desirable residences in Germany, Poland and (featured here) Athens.
Private Residential Building in Poland
Ruhl is a firm admirer of Calatrava and also Pier Luigi Nervi. He believes that the architectural language of the future will have an unprecedented freedom of form since solid-based 3D geometric CAD-models will eventually function as the basis of every architectural manufacturing process, allowing nearly every conceivable shape. 'One day,’ he says, ‘three-dimensional “printing” of buildings and building parts respectively will become reality.’
The partners’ practice statements complement one another well: Ruhl’s design philosophy focuses on the incorporation of architecture into a particular landscape and its embedding in a natural environment, whereas Albert emphasises technical innovation, new materials and their impact on architecture. They have also developed and patented new products together, such as a perforated stainless-steel floor panel system used in the Berlin's Sony Center.