Featured Image Ş Norbert Miguletz
Frankfurt Pavilion 2 Ş Norbert Miguletz
Frankfurt Pavilion 3 Ş Kirsten Bucher
Frankfurt Pavilion 4 Ş Kirsten Bucher
Frankfurt Pavilllon, Buchmesse 2018

Frankfurt Pavilion – Frankfurt Book Fair 2018 – Honorable mention in architectural design

Project Architect: Till Schneider

Frankfurter Buchmesse GmbH

Project Management Planning:
Kai Otto
Project Management Parametrics:
Ragunath Vasudevan
Structural design:
Bollinger+Grohmann International GmbH
Building physics:
IPB Planungen AG
Fire protection:
hilla wichert brandschutzsachverständige ingenieur und architekt PartG mbB
Holzbau Amann GmbH
Taiyo Europe GmbH
Media technology/electrical:
Zöller Transport GmbH
Ventilation and air conditioning concept:
IPB Ingenieurgesellschaft for Energy and Building Technology mbH
Gross floor area:
480 m²
Typologies: Cultural buildings
Planning and construction period: 2017 – 2018

Photo credits:
© Norbert Miguletz, Jörg Hempel, Kirsten Bucher


Structures designed for trade fairs obey completely different laws compared to normal architectural tasks, since at any specific trade fair they are only in use for a limited amount of time. This means that once the event has finished, such structures often land up on the rubbish dump. It goes without saying that this approach is anything but sustainable.

For its temporary pavilion, the Frankfurt Book Fair wanted to adopt a totally different stance: The task for us as architects was, on the one hand, to create a 500m² space to house a variety of events and, on the other hand, to ensure that the object created would maintain a recognisable emblematic impact at each annual Book Fair, for at least ten years. Sustainability is reflected in the potential ways the building can be used, its adaptability to different locations, the materials employed, an optimised construction for both rapid assembly and dismantling, a minimal storage footprint and a sustainable approach throughout the development process itself, between the client, planners and the contractors.

The pavilion consists of wood, a renewable raw material – in this case 75m³ of laminated veneer timber (Kerto-Q) for the self-supporting (load-bearing) structural elements and the floor area, plus some 1,000 m² of recycled PVC membrane for the envelope, which can be reused in another form. Both have a positive effect on the ecobalance.

This interlocking pavilion design, consisting of three identical shell-shaped wooden rib structural units – each clad with a membrane – promotes natural ventilation. Air enters the room through joints in the floor panels, and is distributed from there. The air flows continuously up through the central openings integrated in the roof.
Here we applied a parametric 3D planning method, which led, with the help of complex calculations, to a material-saving structure and a paperless working method, in which all changes take place via digital data transfer or data exchange.
This integrative design process allows one to investigate simultaneously how architectural changes will influence all the other parameters – in this case involving changes to the load-bearing elements and the associated membrane, as well as stability and the amount of material used.

Working in close collaboration with representatives from the Frankfurt Book Fair, the structural engineers, and the executing companies, something special was created: A place that defies the hustle and bustle of the Fair and conveys a feeling of peace and security.

The planning and implementation of this pavilion represent a logical response to the challenges posed by climate change:
The project demonstrates that with the help of precise and integrative planning, a resource-saving production – in terms of both material and cost – can be achieved without losing sight of aesthetic aspects. Right from the outset, the main achievement of all those involved was to investigate how CO² consumption could be minimised at all stages: from project development, through production, construction, use, and dismantling, to storage and re-use.