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About Rapunzel Company Portrait

Organic world & Rapunzel values can be experienced from 2022

Blog about the progress of the visitor center

The construction of our new visitor center is underway. The visitor center will open in the beginning of 2022. We are looking forward to a building with an exhibition area, a show coffee roastery, an organic bakery shop, a restaurant, an organic supermarket, a yoga and cookery studio as well as extensive outdoor facilities. 

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." 
 
Joseph Wilhelm
Managing director Rapunzel Naturkost 


From the love for real things

Solid wooden furniture from the Konrad carpentry

[20.04.2022] "There was a guy who looked a little bit wild in his wool sweater and boots and asked us about windows. I wonder if this guy can pay for them," our parents said. There weren't any hippies in our village." This is how Georg Konrad, master carpenter and fifth-generation owner of the Konrad carpentry workshop in Kimratshofen, remembers his first meeting with Rapunzel founder Joseph Wilhelm. He was nine years old at the time, four years older than Rapunzel in 1979.
The parents' skepticism quickly evaporated, and trust followed. Today, carpenter Konrad is Rapunzel's house carpenter, so to speak - the company headquarters are only ten minutes away from each other by car. Thanks to the beautiful woodwork by carpenter Konrad, Rapunzel employees eat in a pleasant atmosphere in the organic restaurant every day and work at height-adjustable wooden tables in their offices. Of course, we also wanted this wonderful furniture for the visitor center's interior!
Georg Konrad is Rapunzel's house carpenter
Georg Konrad is Rapunzel's house carpenter
Georg Konrad is Rapunzel's house carpenter
The workshop of the master carpenter is hidden behind a beautiful rustic Allgäu house.
The workshop of the master carpenter is hidden behind a beautiful rustic Allgäu house.
The workshop of the master carpenter is hidden behind a beautiful rustic Allgäu house.
Solid oak wood is used to make the furniture for the office of the organic store manager.
Solid oak wood is used to make the furniture for the office of the organic store manager.
Solid oak wood is used to make the furniture for the office of the organic store manager.

Solid oak furniture and a straightforward style

Although the German word for carpenter - "Schreiner" - is derived from the word "shrine" (box-shaped container, little cabinet), Georg Konrad and his four employees are building so much more for the visitor center! From the cloakroom in the basement, the office equipment, the acoustic cabinet walls for the seminar room, the counters for the reception or the yoga room and a cooking workshop. Most of it is made of solid oak.
We are allowed to have alook at the almost finished furniture for the cooking workshop during our visit to the carpenter's workshop in Kimratshofen. The cooking workshop is located in the carpenter's large workshop hall which - not immediately visible from the outside - is hidden behind a rustic Allgäu house.
 
The kitchenette for the future cooking workshop in the visitor center, where regular cooking events will take place, looks modern, clear, simple and straightforward. One is immediately tempted to run one's hands over the beautiful wooden surfaces. We see that this is solid wood when we open the cabinet door: the wood grain runs through from the front all the way to the back side. 
Here, the furniture for the cooking workshop is made.
Here, the furniture for the cooking workshop is made.
Here, the furniture for the cooking workshop is made.
You can tell that the kitchen cabinet is made of solid oak by the continuous wood grain.
You can tell that the kitchen cabinet is made of solid oak by the continuous wood grain.
You can tell that the kitchen cabinet is made of solid oak by the continuous wood grain.
Today, furniture can also be digital - a chip card can be used to open the cabinet.
Today, furniture can also be digital - a chip card can be used to open the cabinet.
Today, furniture can also be digital - a chip card can be used to open the cabinet.
It's not only us who like the kitchen, the carpenter is also convinced by the architect's plans and his timeless design. We ask him if he still brought much of his own opinion to the kitchen design. "If it's a good design, then I don't have to improve anything. It's not right to think that only my own work is great," he explains, giving us some wisdom for life.

Inheriting the craft from the cradle

In the workshop there are machines for everything. One machine presses and glues boards, the other sands the wood with huge sanding belts. Of course, how else could furniture be produced on such a scale? And yet a lot is still done by hand.

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.
Workshop manager Florian Brauchle uses various machines, but also still works a lot with his hands.
Workshop manager Florian Brauchle uses various machines, but also still works a lot with his hands.
Workshop manager Florian Brauchle uses various machines, but also still works a lot with his hands.
And before we know it, the junior boss's hand disappears into one of his grandfather's drawers and pulls out a turned mushroom for us.

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

Wood is a material that radiates warmth and tranquility like no other. Although modern technology, with the help of plastics, digital printing and pressboard (wood chips pressed into boards), can produce materials that look deceptively similar to the original in terms of structure and appearance, they feel much colder and simply not real.

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.
Georg Konrad, owner of the Konrad carpenty, and Joseph Wilhelm, founder of Rapunzel
Georg Konrad, owner of the Konrad carpenty, and Joseph Wilhelm, founder of Rapunzel
Georg Konrad, owner of the Konrad carpenty, and Joseph Wilhelm, founder of Rapunzel

Preparing the ground for an entire way of life


The Markgraph studio exhibition


Uta Brinksmeier
Uta Brinksmeier
[April 2022] The centerpiece of the visitor center is an exhibition about organic products and Rapunzel's commitment to a healthy and fair world. Guests can experience organic products at numerous interactive and illustrative stations. The exhibition is the brainchild of Markgraph, a studio for brand and theme experience based in Frankfurt am Main.

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

What role does the exhibition play alongside the other attractions in the visitor center?

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.
How do you trigger such a resonance - what does it take to touch people?

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.

 
An exhibition becomes alive: Looking behind the scenes with the Markgraph quintet (Mareike, Uta, Christina, Andrea, Sandra). Cover photo: ©Peter Eberhard
What do you particularly enjoy about working with Rapunzel?

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!
Is your job a part of you or do you put it on in the morning and take it off in the evening?

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.
 
Does that mean that you never completely let go of such a project even when it is finished?

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

[March 2022] Do you know this feeling - you don't realize how important something is until it's no longer there. "This is the story of my life" is how heating, cooling and ventilation systems would answer this question. If the temperature control works, we feel comfortable and don't give it a second thought. If it's just a few degrees too warm, too cold or too breezy, we notice for the first time the system that is working in the background.
One day in winter, we meet Harald Kretschmann, Managing Director at Julius Gaiser GmbH & Co. KG, with headquarter in the city of Ulm, and his project manager for the visitor center, Michael Stoll, at the construction site in Legau. The two are responsible for the technical building equipment in the visitor center, i.e. all the technology related to heating, cooling, plumbing, ventilation and air conditioning. When we enter the soon to be completed visitor center, we immediately notice that the formerly drafty building shell is warm. The heating system is already working.
 
Because energy is such an inconspicuous phenomenon, Harald Kretschmann likes to speak in metaphors. Terms like "concrete core activation" and "heat transmission" are difficult to explain to the layman. Instead, a hand over a hot cooking pot becomes the symbol for a heat exchanger and a tailor-made suit the metaphor for individual energy concepts. Incidentally, if you want to draw Harald Kretschmann out of his reserve, you only have to use the vernacular term "heat exchanger". Heat, Mr. Kretschmann explains, cannot be exchanged, only transferred.
 
Gaiser Managing Director Harald Kretschmann (right) is proud of his project manager Michael Stoll (center) and his site supervisor Gerhard Gogeissl (left).
Gaiser Managing Director Harald Kretschmann (right) is proud of his project manager Michael Stoll (center) and his site supervisor Gerhard Gogeissl (left).
Gaiser Managing Director Harald Kretschmann (right) is proud of his project manager Michael Stoll (center) and his site supervisor Gerhard Gogeissl (left).
In Rapunzel's case, the tailor-made suit, i.e. the individual concept, is made of "sustainability" fabric and has been a perfect fit already since 2008. That's when the company's first biomass heating plant went into operation. Over the years, an energy network has been created on the Rapunzel premises (consisting of a combined heat and power plant, wood chip heating and waste heat recovery). The visitor center is now also connected to this energy network.
Sustainable energy use, however, does not just mean using sustainable resources - for example, wood waste from thinning operations for the Rapunzel biomass heating plant. It also means not letting existing energy slip away: "The most sustainable and cost-effective energy is always the energy that I don't have to generate in the first place," explains Kretschmann. And this is where the coffee roastery in the visitor center comes into play.

The coffee roastery heats the entire building

In addition to an exhibition, a bistro and extensive outdoor facilities, one of the major visitor attractions in the visitor center will be the show coffee roastery. In the coffee roastery, visitors will have all kinds of things to look at. But the fact that, thanks to the roasting process, the entire building will be heated on most days with the heat extracted from the waste heat is invisible to the naked eye. With this energy-efficient measure, Rapunzel not only saves resources, but also protects the environment by not emitting warm air.
A heat exchanger makes the waste heat from the roasting plant usable.
A heat exchanger makes the waste heat from the roasting plant usable.
A heat exchanger makes the waste heat from the roasting plant usable.
When the coffee roasting plant is in operation, one roasting process generates about 600 degrees - and this is something that should be used! Hidden in a silver box (see center of picture) and connected to the roastery is a heat exchanger. It captures the waste heat with the help of lamellas that are heated up themselves. A heating circuit pump then pushes the recovered waste heat into two buffer tanks in the basement.
Two tanks store the waste heat from the roastery.
Two tanks store the waste heat from the roastery.
Two tanks store the waste heat from the roastery.
This storage tank works like a battery. The two large tanks, each with a 5000 l volume, are filled with water and encased in 18 cm of insulation. The water that acts here like storage mass, can heat up to 85 degrees in the tanks. This heat energy can be kept and retrieved from there for about two days.
Several temperature sensors are connected to the storage tanks. A higher-level control system (measurement and control technology) continuously checks whether there is enough heat in the storage tanks to heat the entire building. This control system coordinates and controls the entire heat supply of the building. Whenever possible, the waste heat from the roasting plant is used as the primary heat supply.

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.
The boiler room is used to check whether the waste heat from the roastery is sufficient for heating the building.
The boiler room is used to check whether the waste heat from the roastery is sufficient for heating the building.
The boiler room is used to check whether the waste heat from the roastery is sufficient for heating the building.
From the boiler room, the heat is then sent through piping into the entire building. A total of around 24 km of piping was laid in the visitor center. The system behind it: concrete core activation and panel heating. Closely meshed pipelines are laid in the floor and the ceiling. These pipelines can both heat and cool. The result is an even, pleasant ambient heat - different from heat that is being radiated head-on by a radiator.

16,000 m3/h give the building the air to breathe

In addition to heating, Gaiser is also responsible for the ventilation in the building. In a separate room, the ventilation control center, large, streamlined ventilation ducts are used to transport the air. The air in these ducts travels 0.5 meters per second, and 16,000 m3 of air pass through the system every hour. In comparison: it takes 60 m3/h to ventilate a WC room.
So remember: If you visit the visitor center in the fall 2022 in Legau/Allgäu and don't notice anything at all and you feel comfortable in the visitor center, then Harald Kretschmann and his team have done an excellent job.
Air flows through the building through large ventilation ducts.
Air flows through the building through large ventilation ducts.
Air flows through the building through large ventilation ducts.
Harald Kretschmann and Michael Stoll show the elaborate plan for the building services.
Harald Kretschmann and Michael Stoll show the elaborate plan for the building services.
Harald Kretschmann and Michael Stoll show the elaborate plan for the building services.

Exceptionality is the thing

Counter construction and commercial kitchen technology from AllgäuGast

[January, 19 2022] Standing in front of the AllgäuGast GmbH building on a cold winter day, we are not sure at first whether we are in the right place. Only a small sign with the company name confirms our belief. But after we climb a loading ramp and the heavy rolling gate goes up, another world opens up behind it. It smells of coffee and wood, it is pleasantly warm and the radio is blaring through the modernly furnished hall. One of the two managing directors, Mr. Umut Arin, has already spotted us in his glass office and waves. He is planning the catering area in the Rapunzel visitor center.
Umut Arin has a striking appearance: black hair tied in a braid, tattoos on his arms and the mischief in his eyes. We feel like we've known him for years already. At the same time, he's not the kind of guy you can mentally pigeonhole right away.

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.
And on the other hand, there is the visionary, restless artist who seeks the extraordinary both in his private and professional life and who tackles every special project with fervor.

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.
Umut Arin plans and builds the catering equipment for the visitor center
Umut Arin plans and builds the catering equipment for the visitor center
Umut Arin plans and builds the catering equipment for the visitor center
For Rapunzel Umut Artin builds the longest counter that he had ever built.
For Rapunzel Umut Artin builds the longest counter that he had ever built.
For Rapunzel Umut Artin builds the longest counter that he had ever built.

Modern and natural equipment for Rapunzel

Rapunzel's specifications for the restaurant's interior in the visitor center are clear: The style should be straightforward and modern, and no chemical or artificial materials should be used. Instead - unlike 90 percent of the orders AllgäuGast usually receives - high-quality, natural materials are chosen, such as natural oil.

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).
The counter will later serve pizza, pasta and pane; there will also be a cake counter and freshly ground coffee as well as space for two cash registers. We ask him what he would like the guests to say later when they see the counter. "Awesome," he says immediately and he laughs wholeheartedly.

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. 
All components for the bistro area are planned in CAD.
All components for the bistro area are planned in CAD.
All components for the bistro area are planned in CAD.
Technical drawing of the twelve-meter-long counter in the bistro
Technical drawing of the twelve-meter-long counter in the bistro
Technical drawing of the twelve-meter-long counter in the bistro
And not to be forgotten: the large, wooden tree that will invite visitors to linger in the visitor center after they havve seen the exhibition. Its trunk is from an old linden tree from the home village of Joseph Wilhelm, the Rapunzel founder. The construction is impressive. It connects the already existing trunk with the creative ideas for the tree crown that is manufactured by AllgäuGast. "I don't like anything that is normal," is how the CEO describes himself.
Drawing of the tree that will be installed in the visitor center.
Drawing of the tree that will be installed in the visitor center.
Drawing of the tree that will be installed in the visitor center.

CAD, CNC, and a lot of team spirit

For Umut Arin, each of his eight employees is important. The question of whether he could take on all the work here himself if need be, he answers with a frown. He and his team function like a chain in which each link is an important part. When they build something, they rejoice in the result together and say "Look what I built!" His job doesn't feel like work to him. It is his life.
After Umut Arin has shown us his technically exciting CAD planning work station, the playfulness takes over again. "Come on, I'll do something fun for you," he says, and takes us to the modern 5-axis CNC machine. The building process has changed, he explains, he works a lot on the computer and many work steps are taken over by the milling machine. Before our eyes, the machine then mills a "Rapunzel" logo into a wooden piece. We are allowed to take the wooden sign with us. And we are as happy as children about it.

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.
AllgäuGast works with a modern 5-axis CNC machine.
AllgäuGast works with a modern 5-axis CNC machine.
AllgäuGast works with a modern 5-axis CNC machine.
In a matter of seconds, the CNC machine has milled the 'Rapunzel' logo into the wood.
In a matter of seconds, the CNC machine has milled the 'Rapunzel' logo into the wood.
In a matter of seconds, the CNC machine has milled the 'Rapunzel' logo into the wood.

"A little bit sealed is not an option"

The plumbing protects against wind & weather 

[January 12, 2022] Plumber, tinsmith, sheet metal worker or plumber? All these terms describe a trade in which sheet metal is processed or used for cladding and sealing. For the visitor center, the Lerchenmüller plumbing company in Dietmannsried/Allgäu (18 km from Rapunzel) carries out these activities ensuring that the building is well protected from the weather. True to the motto of the company's owner: There's no such thing as a little bit sealed.
Copper sheets …
Copper sheets …
Copper sheets …
… protect the building from the weather.
… protect the building from the weather.
… protect the building from the weather.
Copper is long-lived and can be recycled
Copper is long-lived and can be recycled
Copper is long-lived and can be recycled
Markus Lerchenmüller, who is running the family business in the third generation with his brother Daniel, shows us his plumbing shop. He has known Rapunzel almost from the beginning and has implemented many projects with the organic manufacturer. Only at the beginning of the company's history, Rapunzel founder Joseph Wilhelm - quite the pioneer - preferred to build everything himself.

Markus Lerchenmüller explains to us that sheet metal has no substitute in construction. They provide impermeability to water, wind, frost and sun.
Managing director Markus Lerchenmüller has been cooperating with Rapunzel for many years
Managing director Markus Lerchenmüller has been cooperating with Rapunzel for many years
Managing director Markus Lerchenmüller has been cooperating with Rapunzel for many years
In flat roof construction, it is essential to work one hundred percent exactly. In contrast to pitched roofs, any leakage on a flat roof leads directly to damage.

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

For the visitor center, Lerchenmüller is primarily taking care of the flat roof, installs the angular box gutters that run around the building and clads the dormers with copper. Did you know that the sheathing of an object can be more complex than the building process?

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.
Lerchenmüller clads the dormers with copper sheets
Lerchenmüller clads the dormers with copper sheets
Lerchenmüller clads the dormers with copper sheets
Rounded, angular box gutters will be running around the building
Rounded, angular box gutters will be running around the building
Rounded, angular box gutters will be running around the building

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.
Individual downpipe for Rapunzel
Individual downpipe for Rapunzel
Individual downpipe for Rapunzel
The first gutters are already installed on the roof
The first gutters are already installed on the roof
The first gutters are already installed on the roof
The building of the family business that was founded in 1928 is located only a few kilometers away in the vicinty of Rapunzel.
The building of the family business that was founded in 1928 is located only a few kilometers away in the vicinty of Rapunzel.
The building of the family business that was founded in 1928 is located only a few kilometers away in the vicinty of Rapunzel.

Floating character with mullion and transom facade 

[December 2021] The visitor center is intended to bring people and the environment into contact architecturally. This is made possible by a so-called mullion and transom facade with large glass surfaces. This facade connects the interior of the building with nature, brings light and lightness and lets the building literally float.
a mullion-transom facade connect the interior of the building with the surrounding nature ...
a mullion-transom facade connect the interior of the building with the surrounding nature ...
a mullion-transom facade connect the interior of the building with the surrounding nature ...
… brings light and lightness and lets the building literally float.
… brings light and lightness and lets the building literally float.
… brings light and lightness and lets the building literally float.
The name says it all: Vertical beams and horizontal transoms together with clamped-in infill elements form a facade. In the case of the visitor center, the beams and transoms are made of both steel and wood, and the infill elements are glass panes, wooden panels and doors. A bit like a modular system.

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
Wood
Steel
Steel
Glass
Glass
Facade system
Facade system

"Wood makes your heart leap"

Güthler Glasfassaden is mainly responsible for implementing the mullion and transom facade for Rapunzel. When we arrive in Lauben, some 20 kilometers from Rapunzel, we are initially surprised: on the premises of the company with the word "glass" in its name, there is no glass to be seen anywhere. Instead, we find ourselves in a carpentry shop where metal is also worked with. Here, everything is made that will later hold the glass in place: window frames, mullions and transoms.
 
Güthler Glasfassaden assembles the mullion and transom facade for Rapunzel
Güthler Glasfassaden assembles the mullion and transom facade for Rapunzel
Güthler Glasfassaden assembles the mullion and transom facade for Rapunzel
Gerhard and Johannes Güthler in the family business
Gerhard and Johannes Güthler in the family business
Gerhard and Johannes Güthler in the family business
Facades can be made both of wood or metal. In the Güthler family business, metal construction and wood construction therefore form a synergy. Where other companies specialize only in one material and its peculiarities, Güthler also plans the metal parts in the carpentry shop. This is mainly due to the people behind the company: Managing Director Johannes and his brother Gerhard Güthler. They have worked in both wood construction and metal construction and are masters in the use of both materials. Ultimately, however, the focus is on wood. "We are carpenters at heart. Wood makes your heart leap," smiles Gerhard Güthler.
For the facade of the visitor center, glued laminated oak wood is used
For the facade of the visitor center, glued laminated oak wood is used
For the facade of the visitor center, glued laminated oak wood is used
The name 'Rapunzel' can be often seen in the workshop - either on the wood
The name 'Rapunzel' can be often seen in the workshop - either on the wood
The name 'Rapunzel' can be often seen in the workshop - either on the wood
… or on the metal ceiling strips.
… or on the metal ceiling strips.
… or on the metal ceiling strips.
The reason why it is not easy to build a mixed facade becomes clear when Gerhard Güthler talks about the properties of the different materials. Steel expands in width and length when exposed to heat, wood reacts to moisture but only expands in width, not in length. And concrete, to which the facade connects at the upper end, has a two-year shrinkage phase during which it loses water and shrinks. Therefore, a vertically movable end piece at the upper point of the facade is necessary.
Here, the wooden beams will later connect to the steel posts.
Here, the wooden beams will later connect to the steel posts.
Here, the wooden beams will later connect to the steel posts.
A double miter saw cuts the metal profiles to millimeter accuracy.
A double miter saw cuts the metal profiles to millimeter accuracy.
A double miter saw cuts the metal profiles to millimeter accuracy.

With a lot of "brain" to the perfect facade

Güthler needs about three to four months for each, the creation and the planning of the facade. As a trained mechanical engineer and metalworker, Gerhard Güthler is the brains behind the facade plans: "The architect provides the finished picture, but the building physics and detailed planning come from us and the structural engineer." Thus, his plans instruct the craftsmen for example where in the facade the electrical system should be hidden.

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.
We notice immediately that the atmosphere among the employees is good.
We notice immediately that the atmosphere among the employees is good.
We notice immediately that the atmosphere among the employees is good.
True to Gerhard Güthler's plans, a cavity is created in a post where the electrical system will disappear.
True to Gerhard Güthler's plans, a cavity is created in a post where the electrical system will disappear.
True to Gerhard Güthler's plans, a cavity is created in a post where the electrical system will disappear.
A modern milling machine mills curved transoms
A modern milling machine mills curved transoms
A modern milling machine mills curved transoms

Fire and water in perfect harmony

The building will have its highest point in the area of the atrium and the show coffee roastery. Here, the facade will be nine meters high and the mullion and transom facade will go all the way to the ceiling. If you now imagine that a pane of glass weighs up to 630 kg, you understand what the mullions and transoms have to bear here. For the structural engineer, it was clear: we need steel for this.
The supporting profiles made of steel come from nearby, from the Kurt Übele GmbH in Memmingen. There, we visit Kurt Übele at his workplace. He seems very strong, a little bit like the material he has made his profession with. When asked what the challenge is in a project like the visitor center, he answers modestly: "It should be tight." With this simple answer, he underplays his high level of technical expertise and his 25 years of experience, which serve him well when it comes to the building's tricky corners.
 
Kurt Übele shows us his business.
Kurt Übele shows us his business.
Kurt Übele shows us his business.
Nerves of steel are called for when the ordered material is not available, as was the case when the elements for Rapunzel's visitor ccenter needed to be constructed. No problem for Mr. Übele. Steel differs in its load-bearing capacity, which can be measured in terms of quality or tensile strength in N/mm². So, if the desired steel is not available, you can switch to a higher grade. And at the same time, you have the option of a slimmer design.
 
Strong steel posts …
Strong steel posts …
Strong steel posts …
… will later bear the facade
… will later bear the facade
… will later bear the facade

Fire and water - the metalworker's elements

Kurt Übele's forge is characterized by the elements fire and water. There are the glowing embers in the forge when he softens the steel, and spraying sparks during the welding work. And there is water when the steel is cut with a 4000 bar water jet. Or, when Kurt Übele indulges in his passion for artistic blacksmithing and when he conjures up water fountains that can be admired on the entire premises.

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.
Red fire and hot embers in the forge...
Red fire and hot embers in the forge...
Red fire and hot embers in the forge...
… blue sparks while welding …
… blue sparks while welding …
… blue sparks while welding …
… and 4000 bar strong water for cutting
… and 4000 bar strong water for cutting
… and 4000 bar strong water for cutting

Still challenging after 20 years

Turning off the glass production at the end of the day and turning it back on the next morning is not how it works in the world of glass. Float glass, or flat glass production, is a continuous process in which liquid glass flows on a tin bath 24/7. Because glass is lighter than tin, it floats smoothly on top before the mixture of silica sand, lime, dolomite and soda cools and solidifies.
 
Ralf Patscheider, head of order preparation at Glas Trösch, tells us about the secrets of glass making. During our visit, the large panes for the facade of the visitor center that weigh up to 630 kg, are in the process of being produced at the glas manufacturer in Memmingen!

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.
Ralf Patscheider, head of order preparation at Glas Trösch in Memmingen
Ralf Patscheider, head of order preparation at Glas Trösch in Memmingen
Ralf Patscheider, head of order preparation at Glas Trösch in Memmingen
A float liner transports the glass directly into the hall
A float liner transports the glass directly into the hall
A float liner transports the glass directly into the hall
The glass panes that are delivered here are six meters long and 3.21 meters wide. Strange dimensions, where do the 21 centimeters come from? On the one hand, this is due to the float bath that was mentioned before, which is limited in its width. On the other hand, the EU stipulates that the vehicle height including the load (in this case the erected windows) can not be higher than four meters.
 

Rapunzel nut butter jars in the visitor center's facade?

After a short storage period, the glass pane is moved to the cutting table. There it is simply scratched and then broken cleanly to the desired size. Ralf Patscheider plans in advance exactly how many panes he can get out of a large pane. This usually result in only four percent reject material that is re-melted and turned into new glass.

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."
After a short storage period ...
After a short storage period ...
After a short storage period ...
... the pane is moved to the cutting table
... the pane is moved to the cutting table
... the pane is moved to the cutting table
When we ask the glass specialist in the courtyard in front of the company about his personal connection to the material, he immediately tells us that glass simply inspires him. There is nothing that cannot be done with this future-oriented and sustainable material. At his home, for example, he has window ledges made of glass, but also the construction of a staircase with glass steps would be possible. In the pedestrian zone in the town of Memmingen, he sometimes stops and examines the installed panes in detail. And how long does it take to really understand glass and know how to handle it? "After the apprenticeship and another four to five years on top of that. I've been working here for 20 years and glass still challenges me."
 

Making three out of one: a laminated safety glass is created

The facade of the visitor center uses triple insulating glass, with the inner and outer panes being laminated safety glass - with properties similar to those of a car windshield, for example. A film is bonded between each layer of glass. If, for example, a stone damages the outer pane, the bonded film prevents the shards from coming loose.
But how do three panes become one? First, the individual panes run through a kind of washing machine. In the next step, an applicator puts a spacer around the glass. At the inspection station, experienced employees check the pane for possible scratches or breaks. With such large panes, even the head of quality management is sometimes present. After a bit of polishing, everyone is relieved: no scratches. The process can continue
At the cutting plant a hot wire cuts the film for the laminated safety glass
At the cutting plant a hot wire cuts the film for the laminated safety glass
At the cutting plant a hot wire cuts the film for the laminated safety glass
An employee examines the pane for possible defects
An employee examines the pane for possible defects
An employee examines the pane for possible defects
In the next step, the glasses are pressed together and argon gas is added into the gaps that exist thanks to the spacer. The gas is heavier than air and conducts poorly, thus the warm air will later remain inside the building. This saves energy and heating costs.

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.
And how can you tell how many panes have been pressed into a composite pane? Ralf Patschneider shows us a trick and asks his colleagues for a lighter. We get very close to the pane and the flame and see that six flames are reflected, one flame per original surface.

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."
With the lighter trick you can tell how many panes were pressed into one
With the lighter trick you can tell how many panes were pressed into one
With the lighter trick you can tell how many panes were pressed into one
From Glas Trösch the panes are directly transported to the construction site in Legau
From Glas Trösch the panes are directly transported to the construction site in Legau
From Glas Trösch the panes are directly transported to the construction site in Legau

Realizing the architect's ideas 

Our last visit takes us to the Raico Bautechnik GmbH in Pfaffenhausen. Thanks to their facade system, the individual elements such as the mullions or the infill panels hold together in the first place and the facade seals the building perfectly to the outside. "We are like a mail-order company, with the difference that we also develop," RAICO founder Albert Inninger explains to us with a twinkle in his eye as we walk through the large hall. They tinker and test and then they sell the finished product.
We get a first impression of what makes the globally active family company Raico special when we come into in the office of the company founder. There, a mullion-transom facade consisting of steel mullions and wooden transoms, closes off to the outside. "We are the only ones who are able to realize such a structure," explains Mister Inninger, not without pride.

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.
Raico describes itself as a mail-order company with their own development department
Raico describes itself as a mail-order company with their own development department
Raico describes itself as a mail-order company with their own development department
Raico leads discussions with the architects at an early stage and brings their free thoughts into technical feasibility and implementation. Thus, from the point of view of hygiene and load-bearing capacity in food processing, steel was chosen as the support material for the facade instead of the wood that had been envisioned by the architect. And instead of the visually appealing staggered grid of the facade, at least a few load-bearing, continuous main load-bearing elements were planned.

12 millimeters carry the weight

Raico owns more than 80 patents. But only one of them is the centerpiece. With this profile that connects wood and steel structures at the highest level, Raico attracts worldwide attention.

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.
With this profile, Raico attracts attention around the world
With this profile, Raico attracts attention around the world
With this profile, Raico attracts attention around the world
Managing director Manfred Hebel and founder Albert Inninger in front of the company building that is closed with a mullion-transom facade.
Managing director Manfred Hebel and founder Albert Inninger in front of the company building that is closed with a mullion-transom facade.
Managing director Manfred Hebel and founder Albert Inninger in front of the company building that is closed with a mullion-transom facade.
Let's take a closer look at the structure of the facade: the mullions and transoms made of wood or steel support the weight of the glass. The Raico profile provides the necessary tightness, the thermal insulation and the  soundproofing. Precisely at the points where the various parts of the facade are joined, there is a greater risk of heat or sound escaping or for the penetration of water.

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

[07 22, 2021] The wooden roof construction stretches to the ground almost perpendicularly, coming to a stop only centimeters from ground level. This looks very impressive and has practical reasons. Because the deep drawn roof and its clay tiles will make mechanical air conditioning almost superfluous.

Read more about the company that is behind this demanding roof construction. 

Come fly with me: drone flight through the construction site

[07 19, 2021] Join us and fly with our drone through our visitor center under construction. Starting summer 2022, the scent of freshly roasted coffee will waft through the air there and from the rooftop terrace you will be able to process all the impressions from the exhibition on organic, fair-trade agriculture. Enjoy delicious treats from our organic bakery or from the restaurant or wander through our natural health food supermarket and let yourself be inspired for a yummy meal at home. Our secret tip: bring your picnic basket and simply relax in the greenery around the visitor center.

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

Architect Martin Haas from haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050
Architect Martin Haas from haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050
Architect Martin Haas from haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050
[June 2021] The construction of the Rapunzel visitor center is in full swing. The creative minds behind the project are the architects from haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050. Their designs strive for people-friendly and environmentally-friendly solutions. In 2019, the architecture firm received the German Sustainability Award. The architectural idea behind the visitor center is to bring people, the world and the environment in balance with each other. 

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

Mr. Haas, you once said that the visitor center should embody the Rapunzel slogan "Organics with love". How can you manifest such a slogan in a building and how can the visitors recognize this?

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.
What is special about the architecture of the Rapunzel visitor center and what makes you and your team especially proud? 

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.
The shape of the impressive roof is unique
The shape of the impressive roof is unique
The shape of the impressive roof is unique
Soon the 2nd floor will allow access to the rooftop terrace.
Soon the 2nd floor will allow access to the rooftop terrace.
Soon the 2nd floor will allow access to the rooftop terrace.
Project manager Seraphine Wilhelm and architect Martin Haas at the construction site
Project manager Seraphine Wilhelm and architect Martin Haas at the construction site
Project manager Seraphine Wilhelm and architect Martin Haas at the construction site

Alive like nature: beavertail tiles for the impressive roof

[April 2021] Have you already been to a tile manufacturing plant? No? Just imagine being in a bakery - in early days a 'brickmaker' was a highly respectable profession. Like with cereal in a bakery, in the first step the clay must be finely ground. Then microorganisms  - like yeast for dough-making - are used to create the desired consistency and water is used to mould the mass. In the end, the finished tiles are glazed and baked.

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. 
Matthias Schönle (here in front of the clay pit) has been working at Gasser Ceramic for 25 years
Matthias Schönle (here in front of the clay pit) has been working at Gasser Ceramic for 25 years
Matthias Schönle (here in front of the clay pit) has been working at Gasser Ceramic for 25 years
The clay from the Rapperswil clay pit  developed some 23 million years ago, during the formation of the Alps.
The clay from the Rapperswil clay pit developed some 23 million years ago, during the formation of the Alps.
The clay from the Rapperswil clay pit developed some 23 million years ago, during the formation of the Alps.
Every year about 65,000 tons of clay are extracted from the quarry
Every year about 65,000 tons of clay are extracted from the quarry
Every year about 65,000 tons of clay are extracted from the quarry
The decision for clay tiles was difficult for Rapunzel founder Joseph Wilhelm. He envisioned that the visitor center's roof should be made of regional, weatherproofm sustainable material. On the other hand, standardized, industrial goods should be avoided. The Swiss clay tiles met all these criteria. Clay is a natural, durable material that is one of the oldest building materials of the world. Clay tiles 'breathe'; they absorb water and release it again. These properties and the shade caused by the roof overhang will result in a natural climate regulation in the visitor center.   
 

Clay, water, a little bit of sand and lots of passion and experience - that's the recipe for success

Tile manufacturing enterprises like Gasser Ceramic have a special atmosphere. Here, long-time employees manufacture everything. Colors from ochre to rust-brown characterize the premises - from the clay pit to the factory where the tiles are made. 

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. 
Tile manufacturing plants are often situated near clay quarries. The clay in the Rapperswil pit near the city of Berne developed when the Alps were formed some 23 million years ago - in terms of geological periods, this is relatively young! Clay consists of weathered granite and feldspar minerals. Every year, nearly 65,000 tons of clay are extracted from the pit. This amounts to half a meter of clay every year. After it was extractedd, the clay is stockpiled for an entire year. During this time, microorganisms render the material elastic. Areas where the clay was fully extracted are restored with newly planted trees in accordance with the credo of the tile manufacturing plant: "We give back to nature what we take from it."
Following the quiet of the clay quarry, the tile production is the opposite. Here, it's shaking and rattling! In the edge mill heavyweight rollers crush the clay into fine particles. After several weeks of stockpiling and moisture regulation, water is added to the clay and the mass is thoroughly kneaded. Next, the mass is pressed to obtain the right consistency, shaped and cut to tile size. Evey tile is imprinted with the Rapunzel slogan "Organics with love". Subsequently, the tiles are dried.
 
Humidity compensation takes places In the slurry tank
Humidity compensation takes places In the slurry tank
Heavy rollers comminute the clay
Heavy rollers comminute the clay
The color shade of the tiles is customized to Rapunzel's specifications
The color shade of the tiles is customized to Rapunzel's specifications
The clay is combined with water and mixed
The clay is combined with water and mixed
After the moist slurry was pressed, it is cut into the tile shape
After the moist slurry was pressed, it is cut into the tile shape
Individual embossment with the Rapunzel slogan 'Organics with love'
Individual embossment with the Rapunzel slogan 'Organics with love'
Especially exciting is the glazing of the tiles in the engobe machine. Engobe is a liquid clay-mineral-mass that is used for the coating and coloration of the tiles. The Rapunzel tiles should look wild and lively as nature itself and every tile should be unique. To this end, the tiles pass through three stations. In every station, numerous nozzles spray differently-colored, natural earth colors onto the tiles. The exact color tones were determined by the architects who designed the visitor center.  
The engobe machine gives the tiles their individual appearance
The engobe machine gives the tiles their individual appearance
Finally, the tiles  are baked for two and a half days in the oven at a temperature exceeding 1,000 degrees
Finally, the tiles are baked for two and a half days in the oven at a temperature exceeding 1,000 degrees
In the tile warehouse, the tiles are made ready for shipping
In the tile warehouse, the tiles are made ready for shipping
In the tile warehouse, the tiles are made ready for shipping
None like the other: unique beavertail tiles for the Rapunzel visitor center
None like the other: unique beavertail tiles for the Rapunzel visitor center
None like the other: unique beavertail tiles for the Rapunzel visitor center
The last station is a 100 meter long tunnel kiln. There the tiles are kept for two and a half days at temperatures of 1,040 to 1,050 degree Celsius. The excess heat from the kiln is recycled and used in the drying process.

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

[Januar 2021] It has been snowing in the Allgäu for days making it very difficult for all who participate in the construction of our visitor center. Because too much snow brings the construction to a break. 

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"

[December 2020] On a cold winter's day, we arrive at Holzbau Endres in the town of Bad Grönenbach some 15 minutes away from Legau. Some roof rafters and purlins can already be seen on the outside next to the building, but the roof dormers are currently being constructed in the big construction hall. We want to find out how a roof truss is made and what's special about the roof of Rapunzel's visitor center. 

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.    
Holzbau Endres in Bad Grönenbach
Holzbau Endres in Bad Grönenbach
Holzbau Endres in Bad Grönenbach
Master carpenter Josef Zeller present the challenging
Master carpenter Josef Zeller present the challenging
Master carpenter Josef Zeller present the challenging
...detailed planning
...detailed planning
...detailed planning
Thanks to good preliminary work and accurate planning, the workers on the building site will exactly know the right places for the parts at the building site. "That's like Lego for adults" explains managing director Matthias Endres who manages the family business in the third generation. "All the parts that we manufacture must be assembled later in the right place with a fitting counterpart". We are starting to understand this process a little bit better as we are looking around the construction hall. In a corner, we see one building component that is marked: "South building south-east top corner, inner top chaplet".
 
If the trees that are used for a construction project grow within the region, as is the case with the local spruce trees that are used for the roof of Rapunzel's visitor center, a timber construction would always be sustainable, asserts Matthias Endres. For the roof components, Endres uses glued laminated timber because sawn timber in the needed dimensions and lengths is not available. The wood for the Rapunzel roof comes from the town of Reuthe in Vorarlberg in Austria. The six dormers are fabricated with plywood boards. Solid timber from the Allgäu is used for the formwork of the roof structure, the roof lathing and the counter battens. 
 
Managing director Matthias Endres gives us a tour through the construction hall
Managing director Matthias Endres gives us a tour through the construction hall
Managing director Matthias Endres gives us a tour through the construction hall
Also the approximately 100,000 roof tiles will be assembled in a next step by the carpenters. "Every tile will be handled at least once by the workers. At the building curvatures, the tiles will have to be picked up several times because here, the tiles must be cut in trapezoidal shapes", explains master carpenter Josef Zeller, who checks the building site once a week. 
   
Finally, we are asking the managing director what is particularly special about the roof truss of the Rapunzel visitor center: "Its visual appearance, the size and its challenging shape", he answers and continues that it is especially high end what is done on the computer, with respect to the timber framing and at the building site. "A project like this you implement only once in a lifetime. Rapunzel asked us if we had the confidence to carry out this project. We decided to do it and we gladly accepted the challenge." We left the timber construction business with the conviction: mission accomplished. 
   

Walls, beams, ceilings

New video on the visitor center building progress 

[July 2020] Quite a development from our last video from April 2020 until today - our anticipation increases from day to day.

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

Marko Pogacnik
Geomant Marko Pogacnik
[07.05.2020] The concept of geomancy - earth healing - is probably not very well-known. Geomancy, however, is ancient human knowledge. Most ceremonial or religious sites are located on consciously chosen sites that emit a special energy. Today, we are also trying to bring good energy to a site or into a room; for example with Feng Shui, the Chinese theory of harmony. 

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

April 2020

Luftaufnahme des Rapunzel Besucherzentrums vom April 2020
Luftaufnahme des Rapunzel Besucherzentrums vom April 2020

Der Bau des Rapunzel Besucherzentrums befindet sich in vollem Gang
Der Bau des Rapunzel Besucherzentrums befindet sich in vollem Gang

Der Bau des Rapunzel Besucherzentrums befindet sich in vollem Gang
Der Bau des Rapunzel Besucherzentrums befindet sich in vollem Gang

View into the future with a time capsule

Foundation stone ceremony starts the construction process of the visitor center

[12.02.2020] Following the official start of construction works in the end of 2019, the project was brought underway on February 12, 2020. According to an old building tradition, the foundation stone was placed in the ground. The foundation stone was positioned exactly in the center of the building outline.

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.

Festive laying of the foundation stone of the new Rapunzel visitor center on February 12, 2020. From left to right: mayor Franz Abele, business manager Margit Epple, construction manager Edwin Münch, project manager Seraphine Wilhelm, architect Martin Haas and Managing Director and Rapunzel founder Joseph Wilhelm.
Festive laying of the foundation stone of the new Rapunzel visitor center on February 12, 2020. From left to right: mayor Franz Abele, business manager Margit Epple, construction manager Edwin Münch, project manager Seraphine Wilhelm, architect Martin Haas and Managing Director and Rapunzel founder Joseph Wilhelm.
Festive laying of the foundation stone of the new Rapunzel visitor center on February 12, 2020. From left to right: mayor Franz Abele, business manager Margit Epple, construction manager Edwin Münch, project manager Seraphine Wilhelm, architect Martin Haas and Managing Director and Rapunzel founder Joseph Wilhelm.

A globe filled with symbolic objects from Rapunzel's company history in the inside of the foundation stone stands for the company values.
A globe filled with symbolic objects from Rapunzel's company history in the inside of the foundation stone stands for the company values.
A globe filled with symbolic objects from Rapunzel's company history in the inside of the foundation stone stands for the company values.

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

Der Bau des Rapunzel Besucherzentrums befindet sich in vollem Gang
Der Bau des Rapunzel Besucherzentrums befindet sich in vollem Gang

Der Bau des Rapunzel Besucherzentrums befindet sich in vollem Gang
Der Bau des Rapunzel Besucherzentrums befindet sich in vollem Gang

Der Bau des Rapunzel Besucherzentrums befindet sich in vollem Gang
Der Bau des Rapunzel Besucherzentrums befindet sich in vollem Gang

Groundbreaking ceremony starts the construction of the visitor center

[28.11.2019] The groundbreaking ceremony for the new visitor center on November 28, 2019 is a big moment for Rapunzel. " The visitor center will be a place of joy, communication, information and knowledge transfer. At the same time, it will provide room for contemplation, shopping and celebration", describes company founder and Managing Director Joseph Wilhelm the idea behind the planned 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 groundbreaking ceremony marked the official start of the construction works. From left to right: County commissioner Hans-Joachim Weirather, mayor Franz Abele, Edwin Münsch (Filgis), Martin Haas ( Architects haascookzemmrich ), Seraphine Wilhelm (Project manager Rapunzel) and Leonhard Wilhelm, Margit Epple and Joseph Wilhelm (executive board Rapunzel Naturkost).
The groundbreaking ceremony marked the official start of the construction works. From left to right: County commissioner Hans-Joachim Weirather, mayor Franz Abele, Edwin Münsch (Filgis), Martin Haas ( Architects haascookzemmrich ), Seraphine Wilhelm (Project manager Rapunzel) and Leonhard Wilhelm, Margit Epple and Joseph Wilhelm (executive board Rapunzel Naturkost).
The groundbreaking ceremony marked the official start of the construction works. From left to right: County commissioner Hans-Joachim Weirather, mayor Franz Abele, Edwin Münsch (Filgis), Martin Haas ( Architects haascookzemmrich ), Seraphine Wilhelm (Project manager Rapunzel) and Leonhard Wilhelm, Margit Epple and Joseph Wilhelm (executive board Rapunzel Naturkost).

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 architects haascookzemmrich Studio 2050 will create an accessible building structure that already integrates ecological criteria in its design. Resource-efficient construction with traditional building techniques can be seen at all levels of the building. 

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. 
© haascookzemmrich

© © haascookzemmrich
© haascookzemmrich

© © haascookzemmrich
„With this building, we will bring people, the world and the environment into balance", summarizes Martin Haas the architects' idea. "Sustainability should not be communicated by way of sacrifice but through joy of life. The organic shape of the building corresponds with Rapunzel's concept of closed cycles and the visual triad of the building practically reaches into nature". 

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. 
© haascookzemmrich

© © haascookzemmrich

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
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