Demonstrator building for long-span, segmented shell structures based on a robotically fabricated, lightweight timber building system

2018 - 2019 | Research Projects
Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst, BW

Institute for Computational Design and Construction (Prof. Achim Menges)
Institute for Building Structures and Structural Design (Prof. Jan Knippers)

Project Title

Research and development of a demonstrator building for long-span, segmented shell structures based on a robotically fabricated, lightweight timber building system


In the project, a timber cassette construction system for long-span segmented timber shell structures based on a computer-based design and a robotic production process was developed. Feasibility was demonstrated through the development, design, fabrication, and erection of a prototype building at the Heilbronn 2019 Federal Garden Show. The prefabrication of the building elements was automated as far as possible in cooperation with the company BEC GmbH in order to enable an effective production of the structure in collaboration with the timber construction company Müller Blaustein Holzbauwerke. As a publicly accessible building, the pavilion structure went through all the necessary building permit procedures. For this purpose, the researchers worked closely with the authorities and the MPA Stuttgart. Within this framework, the applicability of the developed technologies could be tested and confirmed. 

The innovative research pavilion built as part of the project is 500m² in size and is located at a central point of the Federal Garden Show. It is an integral part of the horticultural show, is used as a flexible event area and as such is used almost daily. As a pioneer building, the research demonstrator demonstrates how highly efficient lightweight wood construction can be developed and realized by integrating computer-based design, simulation and manufacturing processes. Furthermore, as a physical communication tool, the pavilion demonstrates the research strength of the state of Baden-Württemberg in the fields of digitalization, lightweight construction and bionics to a broad social audience. 


ICD Institute for Computational Design, University of Stuttgart
Prof. Achim Menges, Martin Alvarez, Monika Göbel, Abel Groenewolt, Oliver David Krieg, Ondrej Kyjanek, Hans Jakob Wagner

ITKE Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design, University of Stuttgart
Prof. Jan Knippers, Lotte Aldinger, Simon Bechert, Daniel Sonntag


MWK Baden-Württemberg
Bundesgartenschau Heilbronn 2019 GmbH


Wagner, H. J., Groenewolt, A., Alvarez, M., Menges, A.: 2020, Towards Digital Automation Flexibility in Large-Scale Timber Construction: Integrative Robotic Prefabrication and Co-Design of the BUGA Wood Pavilion, Construction Robotics, Springer, 2020. (

Wagner, H. J., Alvarez, M., Bhiri, Z., Buck, M., Menges, A.: 2020, Flexible and transportable robotic timber construction platform – TIM, Automation in Construction, Volume 120, December 2020. (

Wagner, H. J., Aicher, S., Balange, L., Basalla, U., Schwieger, V., Menges, A.: 2021, Qualities of the Unique: Accuracy- and Process-Controll in Project-based Robotic Timber Construction, in Proceedings of the World Conference in Timber Engineering, Santiago di Chile, Chile.

Alvarez, M., Wagner, H. J., Groenewolt, A., Krieg, O. D., Kyjanek, O., Aldinger, L., Bechert, S., Sonntag, D., Menges, A., Knippers, J.: 2019, The buga wood pavilion – Integrative interdisciplinary advancements of digital timber architecture. in ACADIA – Ubiquity and Autonomy [Proceedings of the ACADIA Conference 2019]. The University of Texas, Austin, pp. 490-499. (ISBN 978-0-578-59179-7)

Sonntag, D., Aldinger, L., Bechert, S., Alvarez, M., Groenewolt, A., Krieg, O. D., Wagner, H. J., Knippers, J., Menges, A.: 2019, Lightweight segmented timber shell for the Bundesgartenschau 2019 in Heilbronn. in Form and Force - Proceedings of IASS Annual Symposium 2019, Barcelona, pp. 1-8, (ISSN 2518-6582)

Contact information


Institute for Computational Design and Construction

University of Stuttgart, Keplerstraße 11, 70174 Stuttgart

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