Anniversary in Augsburg: ZÜBLIN Timber building Fuggerei NEXT500 pavilion

Fuggerei Pavillon; Photo: Eckhart Matthäus
Fuggerei Pavillon; Copyright MVRDV
Fuggerei Pavillon; Photo: Eckhart Matthäus
Fuggerei Pavillon, Production; Photo: ZÜBLIN Timber, Sandra Sitzmann

 On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Fugger Foundations, the Fuggerei NEXT500 pavilion was ceremoniously opened on 6 May as an interactive exhibition on Augsburg’s town hall square. ZÜBLIN Timber, a subsidiary of Ed. Züblin AG, was commissioned to carry out the structural calculation, construction and realisation of the unique timber structure. The pavilion was designed by MVRDV, a Rotterdam-based architectural firm renowned for experimental design, and forms part of the anniversary programme running until 12 June.

Precision work thanks to timber engineering know-how
The eye-catching design is a modern interpretation of the typical gable-roofed buildings of the Fuggerei public housing complex in Augsburg. The long, narrow building, inspired by the terraced houses of the Fuggerei, measures about 10 m in length before rising into a curved 8.50 m long cantilevered protrusion. For the outer shell, 36 individual panels measuring up to 50 m² in size and weighing up to 6 t each were manufactured from LENO® cross-laminated timber at the ZÜBLIN Timber plant in Aichach. A 3D CAD model and a modern 7-axis CNC-controlled machining centre were used for the complex, multi-curved free-form surfaces. Following the factory production, the pavilion was assembled on site at the town hall square within two weeks under the watchful eyes of curious passers-by.

“One of the challenging aspects of the project was the long cantilevered portion, which is suspended more than three metres above the ground. Due to the tensile forces involved, this section had to be anchored with specially made 1.8 t concealed steel parts and 2,700 fully threaded screws,” explains Rupert Beier, project manager at ZÜBLIN Timber. The pavilion also had to be designed and manufactured in such a way that it could be used at another location after the anniversary have ended.Most of the 130 m³ of cross-laminated timber used in the project comes from the sustainably managed forests of the Fugger Foundations. In relation to the annual growth of the 3,200-ha wooded area, this amount of wood takes three days to regrow and binds around 100 t of CO2.

Fuggerei NEXT500: a model for the future
The Fuggerei terraced housing estate in Augsburg is the world’s oldest social housing complex still in existence. Founded in 1521 by the merchant Jakob Fugger, the Fuggerei continues to offer low-cost housing to around 150 needy citizens of Augsburg. Already an innovation at the time, the timber structure that has now been opened at Augsburg’s town hall square represents a modern, forward-looking interpretation of the Fuggerei concept. The vision of Fuggerei NEXT500 is to build new Fuggerei-inspired housing worldwide in the spirit of the Fuggerei values of self-determination, dignity, sustainability and security. Plans are already in the works in Lithuania and Sierra Leone. The pavilion at Augsburg’s town hall square will be disassembled after 12 June before being reassembled elsewhere for the people of Augsburg.

ZÜBLIN Timber GmbH

Production: 1 March 2022–20 April 2022
Assembly: 21 April 2022–5 May 2022


Fürstlich und Gräflich Fuggerschen Stiftungen

MVRDV Rotterdam