The pioneer of wood construcion

When star architects carry out their visions in wood, the expertise of one man comes into play: Hermann Blumer, the wood pioneer from Waldstatt.

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Whether Peter Zumthor, Daniel Libeskind, Shigeru Ban or Herzog & de Meuron, all star architects have already worked with Hermann Blumer.

Most of us remember the spherical wooden pavilion at Expo 02, the Palais de l’Equilibre. A lot of eastern Swiss peoples spend their free time in the Säntispark in Abtwil St. Gallen, and some may have crossed the Badtöbeli bridge near Waldstatt in the Canton of Aarau. Or have you already seen the new SWATCH Group main building in Biel. All these buildings have one thing in common: They are made of wood, they look classy, detailed and massive at the same time. The civil engineer Hermann Blumer is responsible for this. He has used wood as a building material, literally waking from a deep sleep. Until a hundred years ago, wooden buildings were widespread, and only from the middle of the 20th century there was a change to concrete and steel structures.

The reason for this was that people always wanted to build more and more stable, safer and higher and the buildings had to be well insulated and not be flammable. However, Hermann Blumer proves exactly the opposite, all of this is possible with the sustainable raw material wood.

New Swatch-Headquarter
Norwegian bank in wood construction
Säntispark in Abtwil

His book «Wood can change the world»

In his book, Toggenburg journalist Ralph Brühwiler shows how Hermann Blumer helps wood to make great again. In the chapter "Tradition", he spans the gamut from student Hermann Blumer, who was fascinated by tricky tasks at an early age, to the timber construction specialist in demand today, who accompanies projects by renowned architects worldwide. These projects form the centrepiece of a unique exhibition of his work, which presents the chapter "Creation" - from the Zumthor Chapel Sogn Benedetg in Graubünden to the Centre Pompidou in Metz and the research station at the South Pole. Finally, in the chapter “Vision”, the visionary Hermann Blumer says he dreams of the “one cubic meter wood per capita society” and he is convinced that wood “can change the world.

His way

The trained carpenter and civil engineer started his career as an entrepreneur in 1971 and took over his father's sawmill. The pioneer researches and develops new joining techniques in timber construction with great ambition. He introduced the BSB system (Blumer System Binder) to the market and was co-founder of the hollow box construction system from Lignatur, Waldstatt/CH. In 2003 Blumer founded Création Holz, a consulting company for holistic building engineering in Herisau / CH. Blumer also invented deep hydrophobicity (beech plywood with greatly reduced water absorption), spring-ductile frames (adjustable rings for flexible elastic frame corners) or the X-Floor (concrete-wood hybrid ceiling with plate load-bearing effect).

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