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Witten/Herdecke University: Start of timber construction works for the new campus building

  • Around 10,000 timber elements for façade, walls and ceilings to be installed within a period of around nine weeks

  • ZÜBLIN Timber using 1,200 m³ of certified wood from sustainable forestry

  • Hybrid timber building to be awarded BNB silver certification

The start of the timber construction works signals the beginning of the main construction phase for the hybrid timber extension on the campus of Witten/Herdecke University (UW/H). The project team from ZÜBLIN Timber has started assembling the first timber elements for the four-storey building, which are simultaneously being prefabricated to model specifications with millimetre precision at the main manufacturing plant in Aichach. The complete installation of the 1,200 m³ of certified spruce wood will be completed by the beginning of November. Within a period of just nine weeks, about 10,000 different parts will have been installed in two construction phases – from the skeleton frame made of glued laminated timber to the façade formwork of untreated domestic larch to the LENO cross laminated timber elements for ceilings and walls.


From the supporting structure to the interior fittings and the façade, Berlin-based architectural firm Kaden+Lager is making full use of the structural potential of wood as a building material in the construction of the new campus building. The building will be setting new standards as one of the most sustainable university buildings in Germany, among other things due to the use of timber construction, as each cubic metre of the 1,200 m³ of wood used in the project binds one tonne of climate-damaging CO2. “There is no material that is more sustainable than wood. The decision to use this ecologically valuable construction material for the new building represents our commitment to an overall sustainable university. The modular construction method further reinforces this commitment, as it allows for a wide range of possible uses in the coming years,” says Jan Peter Nonnenkamp, Chancellor of UW/H. ZÜBLIN Timber will hand over the multifunctional extension with 6,800 m² of gross floor area, including office, administrative, seminar and event rooms as well as a library and a café, to the University of Witten/Herdecke in late summer 2021.

Timber construction allows high flexibility in the interior design

“We are making good progress with the assembly of the timber elements while completing the building shell work in a timely manner. Thanks to the good cooperation with the ZÜBLIN team from Duisburg, the timber construction work of the first construction phase has already been completed,” reports site manager Theresa Fischer from ZÜBLIN Timber. In addition to the increased sustainability through the use of a natural, renewable resource, especially good insulating properties and the significantly shortened construction time due to the high degree of prefabrication, the timber construction method allows a high level of flexibility in the interior design, which will also be a feature of the new campus building at Witten/Herdecke University. The building’s interior, with an open design to foster communication, features the necessary structural and technical prerequisites to allow rooms to be quickly and variably adapted or converted to changing usage requirements by means of removable or supplementary walls. A possible connection of the new building to the existing buildings on the campus has also already been taken into account. An application has been filed for BNB sustainable building certification in silver for the timber hybrid building.