Fairytale wood hybrid construction

Organic farming and sustainable circular economy are brought to life in the architecturally impressive Rapunzel Naturkost GmbH visitor centre in Unterallgäu.

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“We produce organically out of love” is the motto of Rapunzel Naturkost GmbH, headquartered in tranquil Legau in Unterallgäu in Germany. Founded in 1974 by Joseph Wilhelm and Jennifer Vermeulen from a self-sufficient community, the family-owned company has developed into one of the leading organic producers in Europe with more than 500 employees. The range includes around 550, mostly fairly traded, organic vegetarian products, of which more than half are produced and packaged in-house in Legau.

To introduce the company’s guiding principle clearly to interested parties and also make it tangible, an impressive visitor centre has been created on the company premises as KfW Efficiency House 40, which is an eyecatcher even from the outside with its extraordinary architecture.


Multi-award-winning wooden hybrid construction with Rapunzel tower

Because nature’s natural cycles also play a central role in organic farming, sustainability and the circular economy were also an important factor when building the Rapunzel world. Designed by the Stuttgart-based architectural firm haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050, the organically-curved wooden hybrid building with a gross floor area of 7,560 square metres has already received several awards. These include the International Architecture Award 2023 and the German Design Award 2024.

Inspired by the fairy tale of Rapunzel living in a tower, the Rapunzel Visitor Centre also has a tower of sorts, which forms the top of the building with five floors and gently slopes southwards. A wooden roof structure covered with tiles in different light colours wraps impressively around the structure like a free-floating ribbon and extends down to the ground in the tower area.


Good materials create a feel-good atmosphere

A lot of light flows into the interior of the Rapunzel experience world through a glass facade on the ground floor and through a number of staggered roof windows at the top. In the spirit of a sustainable circular economy and the Cradle to Cradle design concept, many natural and renewable materials are also used here, most of which are sourced from the region. A wide wooden spiral staircase as a Rapunzel braid connects the floors and guides visitors from the wine cellar to the attic.

Light wood also helps to create an inviting feel-good atmosphere on the window frames, floors, walls and many other interior elements. This can also be felt in the corridors and in rooms that can be used for yoga or other events, for example, as well as in a generously designed and open kitchen workshop. Here, the ceilings were suspended with light acoustic panels matching the overall design concept and also add design accents.