Press release

Groundbreaking ceremony for the Center for Light and Environmentally-Friendly Structures ZELUBA®

Braunschweig / 3.11.2017

With a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony on 3rd November 2017, construction work on the new joint research environment of the Fraunhofer WKI and the TU Braunschweig began.

ZELUBA-Spatenstich 3.11.2017
© Fraunhofer WKI | Simone Peist

ZELUBA groundbreaking ceremony 3.11.2017: Prof. Dr.- Ing. Bohumil Kasal (Institute Director, Fraunhofer WKI), Dr. Gabriele Heinen-Kljajić (Lower Saxony Minister for Science and Culture), Prof. Dr. rer. pol Alfred Gossner (Board Director, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft), Dr. Helmut Blöcker (Deputy Mayor), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla (President, TU Braunschweig), Dipl.-Ing. Bernd Tibes (DGI Bauwerk), Dipl.-Ing. Kai Otto (schneider+schumacher) (from left to right)

© Fraunhofer WKI | Simone Peist

ZELUBA groundbreaking ceremony 3.11.2017: Prof. Dr.- Ing. Bohumil Kasal, Institute Director of the Fraunhofer WKI

© Fraunhofer WKI | Simone Peist

ZELUBA groundbreaking ceremony 3.11.2017: Dr. Gabriele Heinen-Kljajić, Lower Saxony Minister for Science and Culture

On the campus of the Technische Universität Braunschweig, the first-ever joint research building of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the TU is currently being built and should be finished by 2019. Within the Center for Light and Environmentally-Friendly Structures ZELUBA®, the two institutions carry out research on hybrid lightweight construction systems on the basis of renewable raw materials for multi-story building construction. With a groundbreaking ceremony, the partners officially initiated the start of construction.

Following the official welcome from Professor Dr.-Ing. Bohumil Kasal, Director of the Fraunhofer WKI and future “landlord”, greetings were conveyed by the Lower Saxony Minister for Science and Culture, Gabriele Heinen-Kljajić, the Board Director of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Professor (Stellenbosch University) Dr. rer. pol. Alfred Gossner, and the President of the TU Braunschweig, Professor Dr.-Ing. Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla. Together with the representatives of the architectural team, Kai Otto and Bernd Tibes, the speakers then performed the groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site.

Minister Heinen-Kljajić emphasized: “Lightweight construction is a key technology for environmentally-compatible and resource-efficient construction. The research into hybrid composite materials is particularly future-oriented in view of the ecological and economic challenges of our time. The development of an appropriate research infrastructure is therefore an important concern for the State of Lower Saxony. With the ZELUBA construction and the expertise pooled here through the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research and the TU Braunschweig, the research landscape in Lower Saxony will be significantly strengthened.”

Professor Dr.-Ing. Kasal expressed his pleasure concerning the event which, following the preparation period, now officially marks the start of construction. “This groundbreaking ceremony is a milestone for the two organizations involved. It is the first time that a Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft building has been constructed on the university campus in Braunschweig. This integration represents a new era of cooperation.” Prof. Kasal continued: “We are confident that this cooperation will be very successful, not least due to the physical proximity which the new building will provide.”

“Through the neighborly relationships, a new innovative climate will be created,” said Professor Dr.-Ing. Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, President of the TU Braunschweig. “We have numerous points of contact in the fields of construction and the environment, the City of the Future, and lightweight construction and materials, all of which are advanced through the physical proximity to our institutes.”

Over an area of 1,700 square meters, the research facility will encompass offices, laboratories, a seminar room and a testing hall. A total of 39 jobs are distributed throughout the building. The construction costs of 11.7 million euros are being shared by the State of Lower Saxony and the federal government via the basic funding of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Within the framework of the ZELUBA start-up project and in cooperation with the industry, scientists from the Fraunhofer WKI and the TU Braunschweig are already working together on the development of hybrid lightweight construction systems on the basis of renewable raw materials for multi-story buildings.

The new building, which is comprised of two cubic structures, was planned by a consortium of architects from the companies DGI Bauwerk and schneider+schumacher. The high, single-story test facility hall and the three-story laboratory and office building are positioned marginally offset to one another, resulting in a spacious forecourt. The two buildings are connected by the foyer which, with its glazed frontage, creates a smooth transition between interior and exterior. Towards the street, the extensively open hall frontage presents an insight into the research work.

In accordance with the research at the ZELUBA®, the focus in the planning phase was directed at a modular construction method and the utilization of renewable raw materials in combination with conventional materials. The hybrid construction will be visible from the outside: The predominantly wooden hall will be supported and stiffened at the front faces with the help of steel elements and cables. Connecting the two larger structures, the foyer is planned as an ostensibly lightweight reinforced concrete construction. In the adjoining laboratory and office building, the combination of wood and reinforced concrete is applied, for example, in the ceilings.

Following completion, the Fraunhofer WKI department of the same name, which is currently situated at the main location of the Fraunhofer WKI, will move into the building and continue its research and development work in close cooperation with the TU Braunschweig.

The Center for Light and Environmentally-Friendly Structures is an initiative of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut WKI, the Technische Universität Braunschweig and the Institute for Building Materials, Solid Construction and Fire Protection (iBMB) of the TU Braunschweig.