Facts and figures

Location: Rapperswil (SG)
Finalisation: 2020
Planning period: 2017 – 2018
Construction period: October 2019 – September 2020
Client: Gebr. Knie Schweizer National-Circus AG
Architecture: Carlos Martinez Architekten AG
General planning: Ghisleni Partner AG
Structural planning and statics: Primin Jung Schweiz AG 
Timber construction, planning, assembly : Blumer-Lehmann AG

Wood: A total of 224 m3 of spruce/fir from Switzerland and Austria; of which 180 m3 for the supporting framework and 44 m3 for the interior cladding 

Unique architecture for an impressive timber construction

The 26-metre-high tower in a curved timber supporting structure is the eye-catcher of the building and yet another exceptional Free Form construction. The new building, inspired by architects Carlos Martinez Architekten AG, was described as a bold, innovative design by Rapperswil councillor Thomas Furrer, Head of Construction, Transport and the Environment. The cantilever roof, designed as a prismatic shell structure, is surrounded by irregularly shaped sheet
metal sheds. The tower is clad with a metal facade.

In addition to the planning, we were also responsible for the 3D modelling.

The cantilever timber roof, designed as a prismatic shell structure, is surrounded by irregularly shaped sheet metal sheds.
«We generally like to work with timber. For scheduling reasons, but primarily for environmental reasons.»
Carlos Martinez, Architect | Carlos Martinez Architekten

Multifunctional use of Knie's Magician’s Hat

The sea lions previously kept in the Otarium left the children’s zoo at the end of October 2019. Instead, the magician's hat will host events with a new
direction all year round. With a capacity of approximately 500 people, the building is suitable for a variety of uses and is equipped with a retractable stage platform and an extending stand.

The curved timber creates a circus-like atmosphere inside the magician’s hat.
«I come into the magician’s hat every day. I love this building. Everyone who enters the building says wow!»
Franco Knie Senior, Co-owner | Gebrüder KNIE, Schweizer National-Circus AG

Production of the elements for the timber supporting framework

The timber elements for the Knies Zauberhut were produced at our factory and fully assembled straight away. The facade was also fitted directly onto the elements by our project partner, the metalwork specialist Brönnimann. The prefabricated components were then delivered to the construction site and assembled there. 

«The biggest challenge was making the whole structure a reality within eight months.»
Stefano Ghisleni, General planning | Ghisleni Partner AG

Assembly on the construction site

The weight and size made assembly of the large elements of the supporting framework extremely challenging. The large roof elements weigh approximately 4 tonnes and the final component, the hat, weighs almost 20 tonnes. The outer construction was very challenging in terms of the precision required during assembly. However, it was eventually possible to join it all together to form a circle.

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