Technical University research tower . Kaiserslautern

kirchspitz . photos: © Michael Heinrich . © Sven Paustian . + detail

The research tower of the Technical University of Kaiserslautern designed by KIRCHSPITZarchitects is used for tree-crown research.

At the same time, the chemically untreated structure made of veneer wood provides information on the weathering behaviour of the material. In order to enable environmentally compatible long-term research without any influence on the ecosystem, the tower, built on a minimum ground area without any bracing at the sides, rises 36 metres above the trees. A frame-like supporting structure without the usual diagonal bracing guarantees open access to the tree crown area. From six platforms, tree crowns that are further away can be reached by means of booms. The tower combines its function and supporting structure to produce an archetypal appearance. Made of untreated Kerto® veneer wood, the structure stands on a 110 cm-thick reinforced concrete plate, which rests on four small piles set 10 m deep in the earth and rock. For protection against moisture in the ground and driving rain, the upper edge of the foundations is 60 cm above the forest floor. From here, the tops of the approximately 30 m-high trees can be reached by climbing a ladder.

KIRCHSPITZarchitects with Peter Spitzley, Katrin Kern and Hubert Kirchmer.

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