Robotically Fabricated Lightweight Timber Shell in Schwäbisch Gmünd

The Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall is an architectural prototype building and a showcase for the current developments in computational design and robotic fabrication for lightweight timber construction. Funded by the European Union and the state of Baden-Württemberg, the building is the first to have its primary structure entirely made of robotically prefabricated beech plywood plates. The newly developed timber construction offers not only innovative architectural possibilities; it is also highly resource efficient, with the load bearing plate structure being just 50mm thin. This is made possible through integrative computational design, simulation, fabrication and surveying methods.

The Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall is organized into two individual spatial zones that are differentiated through the building’s overall geometry: the entrance space and the main exhibition space. In both zones the plate structure is dome-shaped consisting of convex polygonal plates. An intermediate space or transition zone is defined by a saddle-shaped spatial contraction where the shell consists of concave polygonal plates. Visitors enter the building through the lower part of the shell and are guided through the slight narrowing of the structure to the 6 meters high main space with its large glass facade opening towards the surrounding landscape. The interior is characterised not only by its global geometry, but particularly by the plywood plates and their visible finger joint connections. The geometric gradient between convex and concave polygonal plates emphasises the spatial arrangement. The construction principles that were derived from the geometric differentiation of biological systems remain visible and become part of the architectural experience.

The development, fabrication and construction of the Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall demonstrates that robotic fabrication in conjunction with computational design, simulation and surveying methods enable architects, structural engineers and timber manufacturers to work interdisciplinary as well as material- and fabrication-oriented. This leads not only to resource efficient timber constructions but also to a novel and expressive architecture.

Also few pictures…


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