Since the completed construction of the Ricola Kräuterzentrum (herb center) in May 2014, the entire herbal processing has taken place under one roof in the industrial area on the edge of Laufen. The building with a solid facade construction of rammed earth has a rectangular form and gives the appearance of a box with its dimensions of 11 m in height, 111 m length and 30 m width. Parts of the building are equipped with cellars and are connected with an earth-covered passage to the delivery point, which is separated from the main building. This was also covered with earth after completion of the construction work.
The building consists mainly of two-story rooms. Exceptions are the office, storage and visitor rooms located in the middle of the building, and also the herb drying equipment, which is located in the front building area in a multi-story steel construction.
The static design of the main building consists of a rigid mullion and transom construction of reinforced concrete with a front-mounted, soil-anchored, rammed earth facade that is self-supporting in the vertical direction. 19 transverse axes and 3 longitudinal axes lie on a support grid of 6.10 m by 6.10 m. In the peripheral areas of the building the longitudinal axis is aligned along the middle of the building. The middle longitudinal axis divides into two at the offices and the processing facilities, in order to enable the passage of a corridor.
The facade of rammed earth is self-supporting in the vertical direction, but must still be connected to the supporting structure of the building in order to transfer horizontal forces such as wind and earthquakes. Stiffening of the main building is made solely by connection with rigid frames. Horizontal forces are transferred here to the subsoil by bending in the supports. For this, rigid connections are necessary between the supports and the base plate.
The connection passage in the basement and the delivery hall were executed in reinforced cast-in-place concrete box sections. Stiffening of the delivery hall was achieved by the wall and ceiling panels. In the region where the main building has no cellar, the relatively high, concentrated support loads were transferred to the subsoil through piles. In addition, the base plate must be locally supported by single piles within the support grid. The lower parts of the building, including cellars, connection passage and delivery could be built with a shallow foundation on account of the load-bearing subsoil and the small loads.
This project was awarded the Good Buildings Prize (Auszeichnung Guter Bauten) from the Cantons of Basel City and Basel Country in 2018.
Article in TEC21, 14-01-2015