Two pilot projects for parametric planning

Basler & Hofmann used its own extension in Esslingen to implement two pilot projects for parametric planning. The "Future Tree" open outdoor pavilion and the acoustic walls stand for the potential of the new digital planning method, in which buildings are no longer drawn but programmed. It enables a completely new design language with simultaneously optimised functionality.


Basler & Hofmann AG

Exploring the possibilities of digitalisation

Basler & Hofmann's office location in Esslingen is its development laboratory for new technologies and methods. The aim with the most recent extension to the site was to explore the possibilities of digitalisation in the planning and construction process. Construction was carried out directly from the model, i.e. without any paper plans at all – from site management and construction through to the production of components. The company broke completely new ground with the "Future Tree" outdoor pavilion and the acoustic walls in the new cafeteria. Both were planned parametrically and manufactured with new, digital construction methods. The two pilot projects are the result of a development partnership with Gramazio Kohler Research, Chair of Architecture and Digital Fabrication, and the Chair of Physical Chemistry of Building Material at ETH Zurich, and the company Erne Holzbau.


Iterative optimisation of architecture and load-bearing behaviour

The "Future Tree" is a tree-like construction. The "crown" of the pavilion consists of a wooden reciprocal framework, while the "trunk" is formed by an organically-shaped concrete column. In the parametric model, the design, statics and manufacturing were optimised by the architect, engineer and entrepreneur in an iterative process. Since the highly complex structures would have been virtually impossible to build by hand, robots and 3D printers were used to produce them.


Aesthetics and acoustics in harmony

Three walls consisting of more than 8,500 wooden elements form the eye-catching feature in the cafeteria of the new extension. The individual elements are arranged in such a way that sound is being diffused and absorbed, and at the same time create an architecturally impressive interplay of light and shadow during the natural course of daylight. They are the result of parametric planning, acoustic simulation and a new construction method with augmented reality.


Our services

Future Tree: Client, Project management, Structural analysis and construction
Acoustic walls: Client, Project management, Specialist planning – acoustics

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