Press release

Fraunhofer WKI celebrates topping-out ceremony for the ZELUBA® new building on the TU Braunschweig campus

Braunschweig / 28.8.2019

On August 28, 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut WKI celebrated the topping-out ceremony for the “Center for Light and Environmentally Compatible Structures ZELUBA®“ together with the contractors. The new Fraunhofer WKI building with a total usable area of around 1,700 square meters is being built on the site of the Technical University of Braunschweig on Beethovenstrasse, in the immediate vicinity of the university's building institutes. With the ZELUBA® new building, Fraunhofer WKI is expanding its capacities for the development of sustainable lightweight construction solutions for buildings. The background is global challenges such as climate change, population growth and large transnational migration flows, which place new demands on the functionality and environmental balance of buildings. The location has been intentionally chosen: The collaboration between researchers at Fraunhofer WKI and TU Braunschweig is to become closer not only in terms of space, but also in terms of content.

© Fraunhofer WKI | Manuela Lingnau
Fraunhofer WKI celebrates topping-out ceremony of the new ZELUBA® building with contractors.

The topping-out ceremony celebrating the completion of the shell and the roof truss represents a milestone in the construction of the new ZELUBA® building. On August 28, 2019, the Fraunhofer WKI, together with the contractors, paid tribute to the construction progress with the traditional topping-out ceremony. Bohumil Kasal, Director of the Fraunhofer WKI, explained the relevance of the building: “What new, sustainable materials can we develop to enable existing and future buildings to withstand climate change? How, for example, can new spaces be created in buildings by combining building materials and at the same time increasing energy efficiency? With the new ZELUBA® building, we are providing the right space for researching the pressing questions of our time.“

Fraunhofer WKI has been working for several years together with the TU Braunschweig and industry on hybrid lightweight construction systems based on renewable raw materials for building construction. The new ZELUBA® building continues the successful work on 1,700 square meters, comprising 39 workstations and laboratories, a seminar room and a test hall. In the test facility, the researchers will be able to test the physical properties of the hybrid and lightweight constructions they have developed. A special highlight is the earthquake test stand that is currently being erected. After completion, designs can be quickly and efficiently tested on site using scaled models.

The new building consists of two cubic structures and was planned by a consortium of the architectural offices DGI Bauwerk, Berlin and schneider+schumacher, Frankfurt/Main. The high, one-storey test hall and the three-storey laboratory and office building are slightly offset from each other, resulting in a spacious forecourt. The two buildings are connected by the foyer, which with its glazed fronts creates a gliding transition between inside and outside. Towards the street, the largely open hall front offers an insight into the research work.

After completion, which is scheduled for summer 2020, the Fraunhofer WKI scientific department Center for Lightweight and Environmentally Compatible Structures ZELUBA®, which is currently located at Fraunhofer WKI's main site, will move into the building and continue its research and development work in cooperation with TU Braunschweig.

ZELUBA® is an initiative of Fraunhofer WKI, TU Braunschweig and the Institute for Solid Construction and Fire Protection of TU Braunschweig (iBMB). The construction costs are shared between the state of Lower Saxony and the federal government via the basic financing of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.



The Fraunhofer WKI has been focusing on sustainability through the use of renewable raw materials for more than 70 years. The institute, with locations in Braunschweig, Hanover and Wolfsburg, specialises in process engineering, natural fibre composites, wood and emission protection, quality assurance of wood products, material and product testing, recycling processes and the use of organic building materials and wood in construction. Almost all processes and materials resulting from research activities are used industrially.