The Urbach Tower Is A New Landmark In Germany That Was Built From Self-Shaping Wood

The Urbach Tower Is A New Landmark In Germany That Was Built From Self-Shaping Wood

The Urbach Tower Is A New Landmark In Germany That Was Built From Self-Shaping Wood Art

Photography © ICD/ITKE University of Stuttgart

 

The University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD) has collaborated with the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE), to create the Urbach Tower, a unique landmark that’s been built in Germany.

 

The design of the tower emerges from a new self-shaping process of the curved wood components. This pioneering development constitutes a paradigm shift in timber manufacturing from elaborate and energy-intensive mechanical forming processes that require heavy machinery to a process where the material shapes entirely by itself. This shape change is only driven by the wood’s characteristic shrinking during a decrease of moisture content.

The Urbach Tower Is A New Landmark In Germany That Was Built From Self-Shaping Wood Art

Photography © ICD/ITKE University of Stuttgart

The 45 foot (14m) tower is composed from pieces of wood that are designed and manufactured in a flat state, which then transform autonomously into the final, programmed curved shapes during industry-standard technical drying. This results in each designed panel being a thickness of just 3.5 inches (9 cm) thick, while 5 axis CNC cut components helped to create the design.


The Urbach Tower Is A New Landmark In Germany That Was Built From Self-Shaping Wood Art

Photography © ICD/ITKE University of Stuttgart

12 individual prefabricated components were pre-assembled in groups of 3, while the exterior is made from Larche Wood with a titanium oxide surface treatment.


The Urbach Tower Is A New Landmark In Germany That Was Built From Self-Shaping Wood Art

Photography © ICD/ITKE University of Stuttgart

The Urbach Tower is the first wood structure made from self-shaped components, and it serves as a landmark building for the City of Urbach’s contribution to the Remstal Gartenschau 2019.


The Urbach Tower Is A New Landmark In Germany That Was Built From Self-Shaping Wood Art

Photography © ICD/ITKE University of Stuttgart

The tower has a 13 foot (4m) radius at the base, a 5 foot (1.6m) radius in the middle, and a 9 foot (3m) radius top, while the design of the panels make the tower appear as if it’s twisting.


The Urbach Tower Is A New Landmark In Germany That Was Built From Self-Shaping Wood Art

Photography © ICD/ITKE University of Stuttgart

CREDITS
Architectural Design / Self-forming Curved Wooden Components Research and Development: ICD – Institute for Computational Design and Construction, University of Stuttgart (Prof. Achim Menges, Dylan Wood), Structural Design and Engineering: ITKE – Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design, University of Stuttgart (Prof. Jan Knippers, Lotte Aldinger, Simon Bechert)
Self-forming Curved Wooden Components Research and Development (PI): Scientific collaboration: Laboratory of Cellulose and Wood Materials, Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology), Switzerland & Wood Materials Science, ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich), Dr. Markus Rüggeberg, Philippe Grönquist, Prof. Ingo Burgert
Industry collaboration: Self-forming Curved Wooden Components Research and Development / Wood Manufacturing and Construction: Blumer-Lehmann AG, Gossau, Switzerland (Katharina Lehmann, David Riggenbach)
Project Support: Gemeinde Urbach, Remstal Gartenschau 2019 GmbH, German Federal Environmental Foundation, Innosuisse – Swiss Innovation Agency, Carlisle Construction Materials GmbH, and Scanntronik Mugrauer GmbH

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