Architecture and Structure Atelier, Berlin, Germany
STERLING + PRESSER - ARCHITECTS + ENGINEERS
SPANS associates is a creative international atelier based in Berlin that specialises in the design of unique architectures and structures, combining concepts with an advanced engineering expertise, gained through a high experience in delivering innovative, complex and world class projects. Nicolas Sterling and Elke Sterling-Presser co founded the practice in 2017 in Berlin as a dynamic unique model. They both met in London, while they lead international projects in the field of Architecture and Structural engineering. With more than 15 years of experience, the projects they delivered and their design led attitude contributed to design excellence in their respective and complementary fields.
SPANS associates is a team of architects, designers, engineers and entrepreneurs. We believe in a multidisciplinary approach and fruitful collaborations rather than a traditional standalone, split or antagonist disciplinary practice. SPANS aims at associating creative disciplines beyond the traditional building model. Our core team is trained as Architects/Structural Engineers/Geometry specialists and strongly interested to expand the core disciplines to a much wider community and skills, rather than a unique architectural culture. We often refer to the concept of “creative abrasion process where ideas that really rub against each other productively as opposed to destructively.” !
“We have artists with no scientific knowledge and scientists with no artistic knowledge,
and both with no spiritual sense of gravity at all (...)
The time for real unification of art and technology is really long overdue.”
Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An inquiry into Values
SPANS associates has specific interest for material use, structural patterns and the influence of hidden and sacred geometry on our impermanent deep human nature. We have a passion in the ancestral and new construction techniques knowledge together with geometry principles. The digital tools are projecting us beyond a simply formal approach but an informed interactive discipline. We combine a more artistic and conceptual approach together with a rigorous and scientific background: we are concepteur, bauer, designers, technicians with the soul of adventurers and a feel for elegance...Our clients benefit from our relentless curiosity to create the “next”...and our passion to deliver...
Nicolas Sterling is a French Architect – Structural Engineer and Entrepreneur.
He graduated from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) in Paris as a Civil Engineer and from the School of Architecture Paris La Villette as Architect DPLG.
Nicolas is Director at SPANS associates since 2017, co founded in Berlin with the German Architect Elke Sterling-Presser.
He aims at (re)focusing his agenda on his specific interest for material use, construction methods, structural patterns and the influence of hidden/sacred geometry on our deep human nature. It opens a more experimental and engaged agenda to work seamlessly on the design and delivery of non standard project.
Living previously in Paris and then in London, Nicolas gained 15 years experience, working internationally as a structural engineer on high-profile multidisciplinary architectural projects including buildings, foot-bridges and large scale art installations. His “design-led” approach and further interest in innovative form, and complex structures have allowed him to contribute to cutting edge projects with renowned designers and architects worldwIde.
Nicolas worked 6 years as Associate Director in AKTII in London, team leader in charge of the delivery of complex structures in the UK and North Africa. His projects include the Grand Theatre de Rabat in Morocco, under construction, and the Presidential palace in Algeria, both projects with Zaha Hadid Architects. He delivered Coca Cola Beatbox pavilion with Asif Kahn / Pernilla Ohrstedt for the Olympic Games in 2012.
Between 2009 and 2011, he worked within ARUP Building Engineering London Group, on large scheme like KAPSARC in Saudi Arabia with Zaha Hadid, KASC stadium in Saudi Arabia with Arup associates, QFIS School of Islamic studies in Qatar with MYAA / Ali Mangera and Yvars Bravo. In 2005, he joined ARUP AGU Advanced Geometry Units, working under the leadership of Cecil Balmond and Charles Walker. Within the specialist team of engineers, architects and computation designers, he contributed to the design and/or construction of projects with BIG Bjarke Ingels group, Shigeru Ban, Nadim Karam, Ron Arad, Matthew Ritchie or Anish Kapoor. Between 1999 and 2005, he worked in Paris while studying at HDA Hugh Dutton Associates, a facade and complex steel structure consultancy.
Nicolas has been involved as an external reviewer in the Konstructiv Project programme at Braunschweig TU in Germany in 2016-2017, and since 1999 he has been collaborating in many regular international review programmes such as DRL Architectural Association London, Bartlett London, MET London, Akademie den Bildenden Kunst in Vienna, KTH Stockholm, Xian Architecture and Technology University in China.
Elke Sterling - Presser is a registered German Architect and Entrepreneur.
Elke is Director at SPANS associates since 2017, co founded in Berlin with the French Architect-Engineer Nicolas Sterling.
She aims at (re)focusing her agenda on his specific interest for “architecture - sensing the unseen”, modelling techniques influence in design together with an aesthetic agenda.
She received a Postgraduate Master’s degree in Advanced Architectural Design from SAC-Städelschule Architecture Class at the Städelschule Staatliche Hochschule für Bildene Künste, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, under the tutorship of Prof.Ben Van Berkel, Prof. Johan Bettum and Prof. Mark Wigley. She completed her Diploma in Architecture in Heidelberg, Germany in 2001. Previously, she worked for several years in architectural offices in Germany. She is registered in the UK with the ARB and the German Architect Chamber Baden-Württemberg.
Since 2015, she has been working as Associate for Gerber Architekten in Berlin. Her experience includes the lead of various competition programmes, delivery of multi disciplinary projects on the German/Berlin market and in the Middle East.
From 2006, she has been working as Lead Architect at Zaha Hadid Architects in London. Her completed projects include the Riverside Museum Project, Museum of Transport in Glasgow, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Hyde Park. Elke has been leading the design and delivery of all the stores for the fashion design Neil Barrett brand in Tokyo, Seoul, Daegu, Osaka, Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and London. She was the project architect for luxury Private Residences in San Diego and in Brussels.
Elke has been teaching at Greenwich University in London for two years as a Design Unit lecturer. She was invited for guest critics and external examiner at various architectural schools including the AA Architectural Association, UCL Bartlett, MET Metropolitan University, Greenwich University, London, Städelschule, Frankfurt and University of Liechtenstein.
LOCAL + GLOBAL NETWORK
Our team is based locally in Berlin - Zehlendorf within an international and multicultural network, gained through 15 years of experience. Our presence and connection to High technology network such as FACTORY Berlin in Mitte, or 3D printing labs as FabLab and Big Rep, enable a high level collaboration with creative team and individuals.
This means that our team works with flexibility and able to connect, operate and build bespoke teams in order to react to some specific projects and schedules.
PRAXIS + RESEARCH
Our connection in both praxis and academic research creates a dynamic spiraling learning model. We are involved in many different Universities, reviews and guests critics in order to promote and support new innovation and ideas within the academia and generally within the industry.