Organic world & Rapunzel values can be experienced from 2022
Blog about the progress of the visitor center
Learn more about the construction progress and about the idea behind the visitor center.
"There is still something more in our world where humanity and dignity seems to have less and less room. The most important aspect of this project is therefore not the object itself but the people who will work in the building and who will give visitors the Rapunzel experience."
Managing director Rapunzel Naturkost
- Building owner: Rapunzel Naturkost GmbH, Legau
- Project manager: Seraphine Wilhelm
- Architect: haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050, Stuttgart
- Main contractor: Gebr. Filgis GmbH & Co. KG, Altusried
- Groundbreaking ceremony: November 28, 2019
- Planned completion: end of 2021
- Planned opening: beginning 2022
- Total floor area: approx. 7,560 m²
- Gross volume: approx. 31,400 m²
- Floors: ground floor, 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors
- Expected annual number of visitors: 150,000
- Jobs created: approx. 50
From the love for real things
Solid wooden furniture from the Konrad carpentry
Solid oak furniture and a straightforward style
Inheriting the craft from the cradle
The former workplace of team member Opi is a reminder of this. "Opi" is still lovingly written on the company website in honor of Georg's father. He always did a lot of woodturning and made gifts to everyone.
It was always clear that Georg Konrad would choose carpentry as his profession: "You don't need to study, you'll be a carpenter," said the priest in fourth grade religion class. Although he knew that he could have become anything, he was practically born with the trade. He was already sawing at the age of three or four. And tradition is also an obligation: "Someone has to be the rock," he says with a shrug.
It has to be real: in the craft and in life
And how is that with Rapunzel CEO Joseph Wilhelm? "The other day," Georg Konrad lets us in on it, "Joseph was very proud when he got rid of the last piece of pressboard furniture. Rapunzel even returns old, used solid wood furniture to us and asks us to make something new out of it. That's quite a rarity for us and really consistent sustainable thinking."
At the end of our visit, we understood what unites the carpenter Georg Konrad and the entrepreneur Joseph Wilhelm. The desire for the real thing. Be it in the form of solid wood furniture or in the form of real organic food, manufactured in harmony with nature and the people who produce them. How fortunate that back in the 70s, trust triumphed over skepticism about the stranger.
Preparing the ground for an entire way of life
The Markgraph studio exhibition
The experts at Markgraph describe themselves as ever-curious tinkerers and hobbyists at heart. In the interview, we learn from production manager Uta Brinksmeier how she and her team breathe life into the Rapunzel exhibition.
Interview with Uta Brinksmeier from the Markgraph studio
Uta Brinksmeier: The exhibition is the key to experiencing the organic world in a wholesome, holistic way and perhaps also to sharpening one's view in order to appreciate the other products. If, for example, I have learned something about agroforestry and if I got to know some of the partners in the HAND-IN-HAND fair trade area, then I might be able to taste a little more the love in the coffee that is served downstairs in the cafeteria...
Your claim is "Step inside the story". How do you find the customer's story in the first step and how do you get into this story in the second step?
Uta Brinksmeier: The first contact with Rapunzel was a personal meeting in Legau. We quickly established a good relationship, which was strengthened over time. In general, our creative process is divided into four steps:
1. Understand: We try to get to know the customer comprehensively. Website, social media, publications, employee surveys and most importantly, of course, getting to know them personally, on-site visits, company tours and conversations with everyone involved - and last but not least, we took a close look at the organic store from a completely new perspective, which you don't know from normal shopping.
2.Transform: Then it's a matter of transforming the insights and information gained into a coherent and atmospheric spatial concept. At Rapunzel, it became clear relatively quickly that the various thematic units could be told well along the product creation chain.
3. Connect: The next step is to link content across media channels. Rapunzel's large selection of recipes and beautiful imagery on Instagram for example inspired us to create an interactive recipe finder in the exhibition.
4. Fascinate: The most important goal of our work is to create moments that have a lasting impact. We want to inspire people and trigger resonance. The transfer of knowledge should be fun and pleasure.
Uta Brinksmeier: By telling them something that concerns them - when it comes to food and nutrition (as well as to raw material procurement and cultivation of food crops), this is of course a very rewarding task! We always try to keep the different levels of knowledge and different age groups in mind, so that there really is something for everyone.
You developed the exhibition as a quintet, or as a women's power team, as you so nicely put it. If each of you could name one idea in the exhibition that she particularly likes, what would this be?
Uta, production manager: As a BOKU graduate (University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna), my heart especially beats for all organic farming topics. Especially the soil exhibit with audio recordings of soil organisms is unique. Without fertile soil - there is no life!
Christina, Editor-in-Chief: I find the hazelnut ball track particularly charming, because you can playfully tell the whole story how the hazelnuts from the hazelnut bush get into the SAMBA jar. This story inspires both old and young.
Mareike, architect and creative director: "I particularly like the illustrative style of the exhibition, which ranges from large-format graphics to interactive applications. This gives the exhibition a very special characteristic with a high recognition value. A botanical journey from the Allgäu meadows all the way to the jungle.
Andrea, graphic designer and illustrator: "While working on the exhibition, I learned that erverything is connected to everything else. The exhibition design picks up on this principle. Many lovingly designed details come together to form a large, colorful and diverse world.
Sandra, interior designer: "From the plate back to the field - the exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves completely in the Rapunzel world and to get to know all the stations that the products pass through during production. Each station represents its own spatial staging, where visitors can come together and exchange ideas, for example at the long table. All contents can be experienced atmospherically and interactively.
Uta Brinksmeier: That all of you are just as crazy as we are, in a positive sense! Joking aside: The seriousness and the expert knowledge with which each and every one of you contributes in the respective field, is ready to answer our questions, feeds in ideas and nudges us in the right direction from time to time - this collaboration is very pleasant. From the very beginning, another of our goal was to also involve the partners and the entire network in the exhibition. And this input, which then came, for example, in the form of lovingly packed, self-carved boxes from all over the world, is simply great!
Uta Brinksmeier: The great thing is that you learn new things with every project and that new connections open up. And if you let yourself get involved, they come to you everywhere, including also in your everyday life.
How can you design a world of experience like the Rapunzel exhibition whith a view on sustainability?
Uta Brinksmeier: In the context of the exhibition, sustainability certainly includes the transfer of knowledge. In coordination with Rapunzel, it was always a concern to inform beyond the end of one's nose and to also give very practical tips, for example on the subject of storing and preserving food in order to counteract food waste.
In addition, when selecting materials, we also pay attention to an ecological and hard-wearing and thus durable use. Particularly noteworthy in this context is the cooperation with local and regional craftsmen, who use local woods.
Uta Brinksmeier: No, why should it? We probably won't be able to eat any more figs or hazelnut butter without thinking about toothpicks and black light and without having the clatter of a rolling ball ringing in our ears. But these are not the worst side effects!
What do you want visitors to take away with them at the end of the exhibition?
Uta Brinksmeier: The best thing would be for them to say, "I'll go back there again! You should have had fun, but you also should have learned something - that applies to all ages and all levels of knowledge.
... and that Rapunzel's slogan, "Organics with love," is actually lived in every step of a product's chain of creation. And that each and every one of us can actually make a difference: by buying fair and organic or not. Because in the end, this is not just a question of taste, but literally prepares the ground for an entire attitude to life.
Responding to all energy questions with efficiency
Technical building equipment for the visitor center
The coffee roastery heats the entire building
The brain of the heating system, so to speak, is located in the boiler room. The control system here heats according to demand and works primarily with the waste heat from the roasting plant. On particularly cold days, or when the roasting process is at a standstill, the control system will access the Rapunzel energy network. All in all this means: up to 60 kW of thermal energy from wood chips and 140 kW from the roasting process will ensure that guests in the building are toasty warm.
16,000 m3/h give the building the air to breathe
Exceptionality is the thing
Counter construction and commercial kitchen technology from AllgäuGast
On the one hand, there's the practical, down-to-earth managing director who plans commercial kitchens down to the last detail in CAD software, spends hours immersed in his computer and who has quickly led his company and its associated roastery to success.
This mixture makes him the perfect partner for Rapunzel and for the visitor center's catering equipment. For his customers, he makes everything possible - "You want the longest counter I've ever built, you got it" - and he knows how to turn airy visions into concrete forms.
Modern and natural equipment for Rapunzel
For the wooden furniture and the twelve-meter-long kitchen counter in the bistro area, AllgäuGast uses beech multiplex (natural wood pressed together) and solid oak (natural, glued together timber).
In addition to wood, AllgäuGast also works a lot with steel, for example for the kitchen equipment, the bakery and the bakery warehouse. The major Rapunzel order also includes the fresh produce counter for the store, the wine bar, the club bar, the preparation room for the bar and the bakery warehouse in the basement, the cold storage cells for the entire house, a mobile kitchen for the cooking shows as well as mobile tables.
CAD, CNC, and a lot of team spirit
Arin tells us that he used to be on the road a lot when he was younger. Today, he is calmer and has found himself, but he is always on the lookout for new challenges, such as the Rapunzel visitor center.
"A little bit sealed is not an option"
The plumbing protects against wind & weather
Markus Lerchenmüller explains to us that sheet metal has no substitute in construction. They provide impermeability to water, wind, frost and sun.
Sheet metal such as copper is virtually indestructible. Surely, you have already seen a church steeple copper roof that has turned green. This patina is, so to speak, the rust of copper and protects the material for centuries. Copper is durable, can be recycled again and again and is therefore very sustainable. The ideal choice for the Rapunzel Visitor Center.
Round shape for angle lovers
The round shape of the visitor center is very challenging for tinsmiths. "Plumbers love square things," Markus Lerchenmüller sums it up. Imagine a tablecloth that stands for sheet metal in this example. It's easy to lay the blanket out smoothly on a square table. If you use the blanket to cover a hexagonal table, however, you have to fold the blanket and carefully lay it on top of each other. For the tinsmiths this means: folding, riveting, soldering and welding the sheet metal.
Balancing creative ideas and practical experience
Particularly challenging is the construction of an individual downpipe for Rapunzel, through which the rainwater will run off at nine points around the building. The protruding roof projection makes a classic downpipe that runs along the wall of the house obsolete. The downpipe design for the visitor center involves hanging several copper buckets (about 150 in total) one above the other on a chain. "Is he responsible for this creative work?" we ask Lerchenmüller. "One person alone doesn't achieve anything," he explains. It's a balancing act, he says, between the architects' ideas and the craftsmen's practical experience.
The visit to the Lerchenmüller plumbing company shows us once again that the construction process depends on the perfect interplay of the trades. And none is more important than the other - regardless whether the work is visible at first glance or if it remains more in the beackground like the work of the tinsmiths.
Floating character with mullion and transom facade
In order to get the perfect facade, which incidentally only supports its own weight, several trades work hand in hand. From carpenters to metalworkers to glass experts and civil engineers.
This week, we will introduce to you every day another of the four regional companies involved.
"Wood makes your heart leap"
With a lot of "brain" to the perfect facade
The round shape of the building also requires a lot of planning. A modern high-end CNC milling machine saws, drills and mills the curved transoms that run around the building. At the end of our visit, we can literally see the finished glass facade in front of us - without having seen glass once.
Fire and water in perfect harmony
Fire and water - the metalworker's elements
Anyone looking for the steel posts and transoms after the building has opened will find them starting at the first transom (approximately at a height of 2.60 m) that runs around the entire building. Below it, the steel is hidden by concrete and wood.
Still challenging after 20 years
As we enter the hallowed halls, a special glass transporter, a so-called float liner, is just driving in with 20 tons of glassware. To prevent breakage, the truck opens its floor and gently sets down the glass panes. The panes that the driver has loaded for the visitor center are neutral in color so that visitors can later marvel at the show coffee roastery from up close. Green glass is a type of glass that has a higher iron oxide content that has not been filtered out.
Rapunzel nut butter jars in the visitor center's facade?
We wonder if it would be possible to integrate a molten Rapunzel nut butter jar into the visitor center facade. "Unfortunately, not," Ralf Patschneider smiles. "Flat glass and hollow glass have different melting points and are not mixed."
Making three out of one: a laminated safety glass is created
At the end of the production line, a beautifully intact pane comes out. Done. Finally, the pane is sealed all around with sealant and a crane lifts it off the belt. After it has dried in the picking hall, it is loaded in the yard and transported directly to the construction site.
Two flames glow redder than the others, this is where the thermal protection is located. Like the professionals, we can say with certainty, "Triple glazing with thermal insulation."
Realizing the architect's ideas
For the Rapunzel facade, the architect envisioned large glass elements in the area of the coffee roastery as well as transoms and mullions made of wood that were meant to be installed offset from the first transom.
12 millimeters carry the weight
The said profile is a kind of connection technology, a facade system with an integrated screw channel. It connects the filling element (e.g. glass) with the supporting structure (e.g. a steel mullion). This connection does not require a screw to be drilled directly into the wood. Instead, there is a thermal break between the supporting structure and the filling element and the screw is screwed in through a screw channel.
The advantage: the screw does not go directly into the wood, where water could condense. Everything about the profile - even the screw - is developed by Raico.
First, a base profile is attached to the wood or steel, followed by a glass seal and, on the outside, a press strip with an external seal. The glass panes protrude only 12 millimeters into the profile. Contact pressure is exerted on these 1.2 centimeters by means of bolting and the facade is sealed against air and rain.
Conclusion: Without this smallest part in the facade, the impressive, nine-meter-high glass facade would not be feasible in this perfection.
A roof that is looking for its equals
Read more about the company that is behind this demanding roof construction.
Come fly with me: drone flight through the construction site
We are looking forward to the opening day and want to express our gratitude to the Filgis construction company for this perfect basic structure!
People, world and nature in balance
The architecture of the visitor center
For the building itself, this means that it creates an added value for the visitors and enhances their everyday life without exploiting nature. Ecological criteria are an integral part of the concept. A ressource-conserving construction with a return to traditional construction methods can be found at all levels of the project.
Interview with Martin Haas from haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050
Martin Haas: I hope that the floating, over-arching, organically curved roof, the building wings that extend into the natural environment and the careful choice of the building materials will convey the passion with that we developed the visitor center. Despite its size, the building is authentic and poetic. It it open and welcoming and it can be accessed and discovered. You can even climb its roof! The visitors can literally experience the attention to details and they will surely feel the dedication with that it was built.
The visitor center is meant to make organic real. How does the architecture contribute to this?
Martin Haas: Observing the cycles of nature is a principle of organic agriculture. In the exhibition in the visitor center, the visitors will experience aspects of a healthy diet, starting with the agricultural production, the processing all the way to the consumption. The architecture reflects the principle of an ecological circular-flow economy. We compiled a life-cycle assessment and selected the building materials according to the energy that is needed for their production, their reusability and the needed expenditures for their transport. We used preferentially renewable or recyclable building materials. Even the insulation of the basement is made of recycled glass foam.
The building services were reduced to a minimum and we make use of what nature provides in terms of microclimate. The position and arrangement of the rooms and the window openings were determined according to microclimatic aspects. The wide roof overhang provides natural shading for the daylight-optimized rooms and for the most part we do without mechanical air-conditioning.
Martin Haas: It is difficult to single out a particular aspect. I think that a special characteristic of the visitor center is the complexity of the experiential spaces. The curved roof made of wood and clay soars into a Rapunzel tower that will certainly be an eye-catcher. These "fairy-tale like" associations are intended and improve the building's recognition value, The building's playful character continues in the outdoor installations. Cordiality and a welcoming aspect were the guiding principles that accompanied Joseph Wilhelm and myself during the development of the design. What will make us proud is when visitors will be happy to come back repeatedly!
Which parts of the building should visitors see for sure?
Martin Haas: Everything! The show roastery and a wonderful coffee fragrance will welcome the visitor in the entrance hall. Rapunzel's braid in the form of the large, winding wooden staircase wants to be climbed and will invite visitors to experience the three levels with wine cellar, exhibition and a rooftop terrace with bird's nest and a great panoramic view. The exhibition is not only a place of knowledge transfer but also room for inspiration with several hands-on experimentation stations in an atmospheric environment. Only seeing the exhibition will be worth it.
Akternatively, you can lazely sit in the bistro and allow your gaze to sweep through the fairytale garden while the smell of freshly baked bread makes your mouth water. Or you may take a nap on a picnic blanket in the garden while enjoying the smell of pizza baking in the pizza oven. In addition, the new Rapunzel store will offer many special items alongside the usual product portfolio. The building has so many different rooms to experience that every visitor will quickly find his or her favorite place. Once the visitor center opens, I will also tell you my favorite place...
Many thanks for this interview.
Alive like nature: beavertail tiles for the impressive roof
The traditional tilemaker craft is, of course, not quite that simple. A lot of experience is needed in order to transform clay into high-quality, durable products. A tile manufacturing plant that has this expertise is Gasser Ceramic near the city of Berne in Switzerland. This Swiss family business produces the about 120,000 beavertail tiles with a weight of 1.8 kg a piece that will cover the impressive roof of Rapunzel's visitor center. The name of the beavertail tiles is derived from the visual similarity to the beaver.
Clay, water, a little bit of sand and lots of passion and experience - that's the recipe for success
This earthy quality expresses warmth and stands for honest craftsmanship. Clay, water, maybe a little bit of sand and lots of passion and experience - that's the recipe for success.
The result: individual tiles with a color spectrum from rust-brown to ochre. Now the tiles are finished and ready to be shipped into the Allgäu.
Construction break ≠ end of fun
Lots of action in the basement of the visitor center
Gently trickles the snow? Wrong thinking! Because it was far from quiet here on the week-end. The family of our technical project manager curtly declared the basement to a skating rink and organized a heated tournament on the icy surface.
Thanks for this great idea and the wonderful pictures!
Modern timber construction for the truss
A roof is made - or "Lego for adults"
Good planning is half the story: every part has its place
If you think that carpenters only work with wood and timber then you're pretty wrong. Months of planning on the computer are needed before the timber can be ordered and the building process begins. The construction that are roughly sketched in the architects' plans and by the structural designers must be worked out in detail by the carpenters, especially the warped surfaces, the round building components and the fire prevention measures must be elaborately developed.
Walls, beams, ceilings
New video on the visitor center building progress
Visit the building site with us and imagine our exhibition on organic agriculture, how the show coffee roastery will fill the air with wonderful smells and how we will strenghten our spirits in the yoga and cookery studio.
Property with a good omen
The visitor center from a geomancer's view
A geomancer measures and comprehends a place and tries to harmonize it with the people. With this goal in mind, the geomancer Marko Pogačnik inspected the site where the Rapunzel visitor center will be built. According to the geomancer, humans can communicate with the field of consciousness that surrounds our planet. This communication requires a special language that surpasses the framework of rational logic. This universal language includes pictures, sounds, movements etc.
Let's try to decode this universal language by reading an excerpt of the geomancer's report before the building process was started.
„On the premises of the future visitor center, I encounter a snake that is guardian of the site. I am talking with the snake and ask it to withdraw and make room for the plan of the visitor center. (...) I am trying to resettle the elementary beings from the felled trees into the hedgerow at the edge of the area towards the Rapunzel premises.(…).
The Rapunzel premises correlate with two important pilgrimage churches nearby. These three institutions form an energetic triangle that has the potential to support the new visitor center and Rapunzel (…).“
Geomancy cannot be directly grasped and understood. We have to rely on our own experience. Rapunzel Managing Director Joseph Wilhelm describes his encounter with geomancy:
„After Marko had visited the site, everything seemed to work very simply and smoothly. And exactly during this time, we received the partial building permit for the visitor center.“
What's next? Rapunzel is already looking forward to a stone that was manufactured by Marko and that depicts a cosmogram. This stone will be a present to the snake, the guardian of the site, and will be installed at her place of retreat.
More informationn about Marko Pogačnik www.markopogacnik.com
First walls and contours: aerial photographs of the foundation
View into the future with a time capsule
Foundation stone ceremony starts the construction process of the visitor center
Joseph Wilhelm himself positioned the exposed concrete foundation stone into a hole in the ground. A metal globe was put into the foundation stone. This time capsule contains various contemporary objects as well as objects from Rapunzel's company history. The globe has a symbolic character for Rapunzel and symbolizes the faith in a righteous and liveable world where globality is not perceived as a threat but an opportunity.
The ceremony was attended by the building owner and the future director of the visitor center, Seraphine Wilhelm, Rapunzel Managing Director Joseph Wilhelm and business manager Margit Epple.
Other participants were Edwin Münch from the building contractor Filgis, Martin Haas from the architect's office haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050, the mayor of Legau, Mr. Franz Abele, Daniel Bracke from Lerchenmüller GmbH, Monika Schulz from Transsolar and Rapunzel staff including colleagues from the susidiary firm Rapunzel Turkey.
For posterity, the foundation stone contains a current Rapunzel staff list, a toy VW van, figs from Turkey, a copy of the Rapunzel natur.post magazine, a copy of the construction and architect contracts, a One-World-Passport, the Rapunzel "golden hazelnut" supplier award, a jar of Samba nut butter and a jar with coffee beans, a book of the "March for a GMO-free world", a copy of the current Rapunzel Sustainability Report, a family shot and a photograph that shows Sebastian and Seraphine, two of the children of Rapunzel founder Joseph Wilhelm, a newspaper from the town of Memmingen, a Legau village paper and an issue of the current THANK YOU advertizement that was launched in support of the organic specialist trade.
The base: aerial photos of the foundation
from January 2020
Groundbreaking ceremony starts the construction of the visitor center
The visitor center will transport Rapunzel's values and issues such as humanity, joy, sustainability and organic agriculture. "For us, the visitor center is a big investment in the future that will have sustainable and long-lasting effects."
The construction project with a total volume of nearly 25 million Euro net is Rapunzel's largest individual investment in 45 years of corporate history. The building will feature three floors including a museum and a visitor concept and will have a total floor area of about 7,560 square meters. About 50 new jobs will be created and 150,000 visitors are expected every year. The visitor center will open in the beginning of 2022.
There will be many things to discover in the new building. In the museum and the exhibition area, visitors can inform themselves about healthy nutrition and ecology. The visitor center will also feature a show coffee roastery, an organic bakery shop and organic supermarket, a restaurant where guests can enjoy healthy and savory organic dishes, a culinary school, a yoga studio as well as extensive outdoor facilities. The outdoor area will invite guests to relax and picnic on their way further south.
"Our goal is that the visitor center will produce a "wow" effect and that it will convey the following: that there is still something else in our sober world where there is increasingly less room for humanity and joy. Therefore, the building itself is not the most important aspect in this process. It is the people who will vitalize the building and who will transport the Rapunzel experience", specifies Joseph Wilhelm his thoughts on the project.
Impressive architecture and low CO2 footprint
The deep-drawn roof with glazed clay tiles replaces an artificial air conditioning system. Regional building materials with a positive ecological balance guarantee a small environmental footprint.
The Filgis construction company located in the municipality of Altusried will complete the project turnkey until the end of 2021. The visitor center will open its doors for guests early in 2022. 50 new and exciting jobs will be created by the project - another benefit for the entire region.
Creating reality ... project planning & details
- building owner: Rapunzel Naturkost GmbH, Legau
- project management: Seraphine Wilhelm
- architect: haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050, Stuttgart
- main contractor: Gebr. Filgis GmbH & Co. KG, Altusried
- groundbreaking ceremony: November 28, 2019
- planned completion: end of 2021
- planned opening: beginning 2022
- total floor area: about 7,560 m²
- gross volume: approx. 31,400 m²
- floors: ground floor, 1st, 2nd and 3rd upper floors
- expected number of visitors per year: 150,000
- jobs created: approx. 50