„A house made of mud, straw and timber“

The seminar building and youth education center of Fortress Ludwigstein was designed by LOMA architecture landscape urbanism and constructed by 45 youth-organizations from Germany and from abroad via 18.000 voluntary hours of work. It can be called the „longest building only made with mud, straw and timber“ in Europe.

Studio Name: LOMA architecture. landscape. urbanism.
Design Team:  Petra Brunnhofer, Wolfgang Schück, Ilija Vukorep, Hanna Theek, Sabrina Campe
Area: 1.035 m²
Year: 2012
Location: Fortress Ludwigstein, Hesse, Germany
Photography Credits: LOMA architecture. landscape. urbanism.; Nikolai Benner

Fortress Ludwigstein by LOMA architecture - Sheet3
©LOMA architecture. landscape. urbanism.; Nikolai Benner

The site

Fortress Ludwigstein is located on a hill, overgrown with a woodrush beech forest, next to the river Werra. The Fortress is mentioned since the Early Middle Ages, in 1920 the German Youth Movement „Wandervogel“ discovered the Fortress went in rack and ruin overgrown by the forrest. The founding fathers reconstructed the major parts of the ensemble. The building ground of the new house is located next to the old fortress and the new, long building completes the ensemble to a court. The location next to the historic ensemble has also been chosen by reason of perfect radiation from the sun.

Space program of the house

The space program is divided into functionally readable space groups, so that the house is divided into several areas: on the ground floor of the west wing is the workshop with the associated ancillary space (office and equipment ). The workshop will be provided to the south with large openable glazing that allow an expansion of the area in the summer on the porch and the forecourt.

Fortress Ludwigstein by LOMA architecture - Sheet4
©LOMA architecture. landscape. urbanism.; Nikolai Benner

Immediately to the workshop – in the middle leg – the multi-purpose room is located, it will be assigned to both the workshop and as well to the adjacent kitchen space. Behind the kitchen are the toilets , which can be used both by users of the house, as well as the campers. In the untempered “building leg for the the camper” is bearing the summer showers, as well as a veranda that can be utilized for the „summer kitchen“.

On the upper floor of the west wing the management of the youth education center is located with the associated ancillary space. The intermediary foyer is available from the management as well as by the participants. Behind the foyer adjoining rooms are arranged for both areas, administration and seminar. The seminar room opens to the south and is flanked by a media studio. The seminar room is complemented by a covered porch with additional space. In the organization of the space program, it was taken care to ensure the efficient arrangement of functions and overlay uses .

Fortress Ludwigstein by LOMA architecture - Sheet5
©LOMA architecture. landscape. urbanism.; Nikolai Benner

Development and access to the object

The development on two upper floors is via a porch which is located in the space between the inner and outer house. Two single-flight staircases – one of them equipped with a wheelchair lift – connects the ground to the upper floor. The inserted into the slope basement is to be developed step-free via a ramp and a north upstream circulation.


Both, the inner and the outer house is built as a timber-frame construction. The walls and the roof were made ​​of non load-bearing and high insulated straw bale and finally covered with mud. The demands on the shell of the outer house are trickier: here the envelope has on the north side the function as a ventilated facade and roof, while the south side requirements for rain and sun protection by sliding sunshade elements . The outer shell looks more like a kind of lightweight case and can not be compared with a conventional facade. All parts touching the ground were formed with concrete. The choice of the construction principle bears the owners desire for a high proportion of internal activity during the construction period.


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