Martin Haas and his design team at haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050, together with landscape architects Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl, have designed a new public visitor center for food producer Rapunzel Naturkost GmbH in Legau that invites the public into a walk-in building with the company’s leitmotif “We make organic out of love.”
Rapunzel Visitor Center has recently been awarded a 2023 International Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
After three years of construction, a visitor center has emerged as a house full of discoveries that invite guests to linger and participate in varied and emotional imparting of knowledge.
“Rapunzel,” or lamb’s lettuce, is a strong, deep green plant that grows even when the ground is covered with snow, which became the symbol and the Rapunzel founders’ strong desire for healthy food—similar to the pregnant woman’s lust for lamb’s lettuce in the beginning of the Rapunzel fairytale.
The address-forming building sculpture welcomes every visitor from afar through the northern high point—the Rapunzel Tower.
The fairytale garden surrounds the house and extends to the roof.
The building is an open and invitingly accessible sculpture, where at the end the crow’s nest, allows a view of the landscape.
The gesture is accompanied by the large, floating roof that spans everything and wraps itself around the visitor center like a band, but does not limit inside and outside views.
The new Rapunzel World makes the leitmotif of the company tangible with all senses.
In the exhibition at interactive stations, visitors can learn interesting facts about cultivation, fair trade, and production as well as sustainable living.
The coffee roastery is designed in such a way that visitors can watch the roasting and processing, including smelling the beautiful aroma of the coffee.
Rapunzel’s braid in the form of a large, spiral wooden staircase connects all floors from the wine cellar to the exhibition and the roof terrace with its wonderful all-around view.
In addition to the bakery and the organic market, there are many other rooms for training courses, yoga, and other activities.
The playfully designed fairytale garden leads to the tropical house, where visitors can watch the coffee plants grow.
From the two equal entrances, the visitor enters the building and is received and distributed via the center.
The glazed interior partitions allow generous insights into the coffee roastery and the bakery.
The inviting spiral staircase sculpture connects the ground floor with the gallery above.
Natural and renewable building materials such as wood and clay were used and the building services were reduced to a necessary minimum.
No styrofoam was used for the insulation and the subfloor, but instead recycled foam glass gravel was used.
All materials, colors, and coatings are carefully selected for their mineral and ecological properties.
Daylight is used in the visitor center and mechanical air conditioning is largely avoided.
Instead, the architects used what nature provides as a microclimate on site to build a robust and durable house that works with nature and not against it.
All the businesses and craftsmen involved in the construction of the Rapunzel World are located in the immediate vicinity of Legau.
Only for the Rapunzel staircase and the finely enrobed bricks, the designers had to resort to more distant partners, as the brick kilns in Switzerland still had old kilns that allowed a special type of engobe.
The building not only strengthens the region but also helps the environment by reducing emissions and avoiding resource consumption in transport.
Project: Rapunzel Visitor Centre
Architects: haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050 Freie Architekten PartG mbB
Lead Architect: Martin Haas
Project Leaders: Sinan Tiryaki and Lisa Ruiu
Lead Interior Architect: Lena Lang
Lead Planners: Katharina Hoppenstedt, Xun Li, and Felix Wolf
Façade Designer: Yohei Kawasaki
Landscape Architects: Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl
Exhibition Designers: Atelier Markgraph GmbH
General Contractor: Gebr. Filgis GmbH & Co. KG
Client: Rapunzel Naturkost GmbH
Photographers: Markus Guhl Architekturfotografie