28.06. - 01.07.2019

In June 2019 BA2 MARCH students went on an excursion to South Germany, visiting many highlights of archiecture and lightweight structures in Stuttgart and Rottweil.

Thyssenkrupp Test Tower - the innovation center of Rottweil, which serves as a laboratory for testing new elevator technologies by Thyssenkrupp.
The 246 m high tower is a hollow concrete cylinder with shafts inside for testing new elevator systems. The tower is the highest point in Rottweil with a 360-degree observation platform on an altitude of 232 m.

During the excursion, 4 types of elevator systems were described, including the latest development of a company - MULTI system, able to expand the boundaries of possible design by introducing a new axis of movement of the elevator car - horizontally. Particularly noteworthy is the fiberglass shell of the tower structure. The polymer fabric surrounding the tower's supporting structure not only protects it from direct sunlight, but also reduces the impact of wind loads.
Institute for Lightweight Structures

In search of the principle of lightweight construction, German architect Frei Otto from the 1960s. studied the processes of shaping in living (for example, radiolarian) and non-living nature and experimented using physical models - soap films, pneumatic and hanging systems. In 1964 he founded the Institute for Lightweight Envelopes (IL), which later became the center of the school of lightweight construction in southern Germany and beyond.

In 1967, Frei Otto and his team built a part of the structure of the German pavilion for the Montreal EXPO in a 1:1 scale in order to validate the design of the scaled models. This structure later became the home for the institute. The roof structure is formed by the intersecting steel cable mesh that is in axial tension. The center column, which transfers the load from the roof to the pavement and acts in compression. This building is one of the youngest historical monuments in Germany and one of the earliest examples of lightweight construction.
ILEK Today

Today the tradition of lightweight structures is continued and developed by the director of the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK), engineer and architect - Werner Sobek. The Institute develops design and production methods for lightweight structures made of various materials with an emphasis on the entire life cycle of an object from design to dismantling and recycling. For example, to create lightweight concrete structures when pouring concrete into the formwork, one can use concrete hollow spheres in “non-working" parts.

We have been shown that by having an understanding of how a loaded beam works, it is possible to correctly distribute the material in with the help of various technologies. This became for many of students a key moment in rethinking the approach to design. "...As far as we, as architects, solving our architectural problems and constantly repeating about the importance of any context (for example, historical), we are not far from ancient architects in their solution. Take the same concrete, whose casting technique has not changed for many years..." students said.

Moreover, the institute is developing adaptive structures and facade systems, which, by integrating sensory and activating mechanisms, are able to adapt to external influences and allow additional material savings. Such structures are called ultra-light (Ultraleichtbau).
Conventional structures are sized so that they are stable even under the most unfavorable loads. However, this rarely or never happens. Researchers, trying to counter this overuse of material, have proposed their own version of the adaptive design - the SmartShell.

The structure of a shell made up of various wooden slats, the outgrowths of which fall on controlled hydraulic supports. In order to be able to respond well to dynamic loads (snow, wind, earthquake), the shell is manipulated: at three of the four anchor points, hydraulic drives generate (counter) movements, deformations and vibrations of the structure and, therefore, compensate the deformation.
The sensors measure their current load state at numerous points in the enclosure. Almost simultaneously, possible vibrations and unwanted deformations are predicted, the necessary countermeasures are calculated and the hydraulic cylinders are triggered.

The residential village Weissenhof was built in Stuttgart in 1927, completely in the style of New Construction (Neues Bauen) for the exhibition of the German Werkbund. This is a unique ensemble of monuments of classical modernism, which includes 21 residential buildings designed by famous European architects. During World War II, some of the houses were destroyed by bombing. Later, in the 1950s, two more houses were demolished. As of 2006, 11 original houses have survived.
Among the most famous surviving buildings are Le Corbusier's one- and two-family houses, the Mies van der Rohe apartment building, Hans Sharun's single-family house.

We visited Le Corbusier's house, which now houses the Weissenhof Museum. The building illustrates 5 principles of Le Corbusier architecture, including 1st floor columns, striped glazing, open layout and roof terrace. The house is divided into 2 parts with separate entrances for two families and includes utility rooms and rooms for servants on the 1st floor, living rooms with an open layout on the 2nd floor and open terraces on the rooftop. The organization of layouts demonstrates the functional maxim of the new architecture, according to which houses are not representative objects, but utilitarian - called "machines for life".

In last days, we also visited the Mercedes Benz Museum, designed by UN Studio and the Bibliothek 21 - central library building designed by the Korean architect Eun Young Yi.

We also visited the large-scale construction of the Stuttgart 21 main station, and the Killesberg park with an observation tower designed by famous structural engineer Jorg Schlaich.