Breaking down boundaries and creating truly sustainable architecture are Ferdinand Ludwig’s goals.
Ludwig’s everyday work requires a considerable amount of patience. The time it takes an architect to complete his projects depends largely on his materials, but Ludwig has a longer wait than usual: he constructs buildings from living trees combined with steel structures. These form bridges, towers, elements for city parks and more--structures with which the architect wants to tear down the boundaries between nature and technology.
Ludwig is an innovator in a field he calls “Baubotanik”--living plant construction. He was inspired by indigenous tribes, such as the Indian Khasi, who allowed the exposed roots of Ficus trees to grow into living bridges over rivers. With his research team, he explored how to make trees behave like buildings.
In Nagold (DE), you can find the largest Baubotanik project yet: the Platanen-Kubus, built in 2012 for the state horticultural show. It is a multi-story structure made of more than 1000 plane trees that Ludwig combined into a single living organism using astonishing methods. His living building materials overgrow a steel framework, therefore transforming them into bearing elements.
In the end, we have a living building and an artificial tree at the same time. - Ferdinand Ludwig, architect
Following the gradual removal of the scaffolding--itself a careful and considered process--the completion of the project could be 2028. Baubotanik is in an experimental phase, a period which harbors some uncertainties. Too wet, too cold, or too hot--the plane trees in Nagold have had to cope with weather changes and adapt accordingly. The advantages, though, quickly become clear: a forest-like feeling from wind rustling the leaves, shade and a pleasant coolness inside in summer. Fundamentally, an exciting fascination comes from such a building that changes with the seasons.
Now, courageous contractors who are willing to take certain risks are needed: structures may take longer to grow or have to deal with unforeseen natural influences. Ferdinand Ludwig and his team have created many concept models. “We achieved third place in a competition in Berlin, and second in Prato. We are therefore quite confident about the direction of this trend.” All he needs now is patience.
See how Ludwig´s work ties into the launch of a new decorative collection for the Austrian wood-based manufacturer EGGER and how the company interprets “Living Nature.” For more EGGER trend styles please visit their website.