"Tree Tower" in the Bavarian Forest National Park

Country: Germany

Category: Special buildings and structures

Type of construction: Bearing System

"Tree Tower" in the Bavarian Forest National Park

An architectural highlight as nature adventure coupled with structural finesse.


Bernd Bayerköhler, Chairman of the Board Spokesman Erlebnisakademie AG

Projetct specs

  • Location: Neuschönau, Germany
  • Client: Erlebnis Akademie AG
  • Architecture: Arch. Josef Stöger
  • Services provided by WIEHAG:
    • 16 arched girders, each over 40 m long
  • Photographs: Jan Sommer, Alice Alteneder

 

Project description

Walk 8 to 25 metres above the forest floor in a beautiful, natural setting and take in amazing views – visitors to the new canopy walkway in the Bavarian Forest National Park near Neuschönau are able to do just that. The 1,300 metre long footbridge ends at the platform of the magnificent Tree Tower 44 metres above the ground and offers fantastic and almost endless views – towards Lusen, one of the national park's highest mountains, from the one side, and towards the picturesque Bavarian Forest all the way to the Alps from the other.

The Tree Tower, designed by the architect Josef Stöger from Schönberg, features an impressively airy architectural structure and a unique concept for enclosing the three very old, up to 38 m tall fir and beech trees in the egg-shaped tower. 16 arched glued laminated timber girders (GL28c larch), each over 40 m long, support the 17 t look-out platform.

The glued laminated timber beams were positioned axisymmetrically with an angle difference of 22.5° each to form an egg-shaped spatial structure. The ascent to the look-out platform takes place via a 460 m long and 2.5 m wide spiral structure made of wood, which ensures that visitors with wheelchairs or strollers also have accessibility all the way to the top. Diagonal steel rods, bracing crosses and ring structures help to reinforce the tower. The complete reinforcement system was mounted to the back of the wooden arches and protected with continuous sheet metal to protect the tower against moisture due to its exposure to the elements. Since opening on 8 September 2009, the Tree Tower has become a huge attraction and has exceeded all expectations: More than 30,000 visitors came to the Tree Tower in the first four weeks of opening.

But visitors aren't the only ones who love the Tree Tower. Judging panels have also shown their appreciation by honouring the clients, architects and builders with the following awards:

  • 2010: Bayerischer Holzbaupreis [Bavarian Timber Construction Award]
  • 2011: Holzbaupreis Bayerischer Wald [Bavarian Forest Timber Construction Award]
  • 2011: Bayerischer Tourismus Architektur Preis [Bavarian Tourism Architecture Award]