Apolda, Timber Prototype

Apolda, Timber Prototype House

Solid timber experimental prototype: Parametric design and digital fabrication

34 percent of the state of Thuringia is covered by woodland. Due to its abundance as a raw material, wood has always been a popular traditional building material, but its full potential has not been exhausted.

As part of the federal government’s ZukunftBau research initiative, a team led by Professor Achim Menges from the University of Stuttgart, Hans Drexler from Jade University of Applied Sciences in Oldenburg, and the IBA Thuringia worked together to create a small but compelling experimental building that has now been erected in the grounds of the Eiermann building in Apolda. The aim was to demonstrate the potential of wood as a simple and regional building material with the help of state-of-the-art digital planning tools and fabrication technologies. The concept adapts the principle of traditional log construction and takes it a step further. The result is a 15 m² experimental building of vertical, freely arranged wooden beams. The digital milling of the timber elements makes it possible to achieve good insulation properties and high-precision connections, and robotic fabrication methods enable the quick and simple production of structural elements in large quantities while still affording design flexibility in the building form.

The planning and construction process could serve as a model for various building projects in Thuringia, and the establishment of a regional wood life cycle capitalises on available competencies in the state of Thuringia. All in all, an eminently ecological solution.


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Tobias Haag
Project director
Phone +49 3643 5831-67