Baubotanik Footbridge created by Ferdinand Ludwig and Daniel Schönle is a method of construction that utilizes living plants as the load bearing systems in architectural structures.
Based on a theoretical design study, the footbridge was the first experimental structure to be built according to Baubotanik principles in 2005. Its simple living plants and technical structure clearly demonstrates the concept and constructional approach of Baubotanik.
The construction consists of 64 vertical and 16 diagonal bundle columns that were composed of 12 to 15 plants each. At a height of 2.5 metres and over 22 metres length, this supporting structure carries a pedestrian platform made of steel gratings. It also incorporates a stainless steel tube that serves as a handrail. In this way, a walking space above the ground emerges that can be accessed by two small side bridges with ladders.
This green bearing structure was created from sets of the willow Salix viminalis, a species with a high ability to regenerate and take root. This is why the footbridge does not need a conventional foundation. The living plant structure is able to support the full load and redirect it to the ground. Here, the construction is anchored with the roots of the willow plants that find excellent growth conditions at this site, a permanently wet low bog meadow. In the course of years, especially the handrail’s steel tubes have become more and more ingrown into the living plant structure. But single plants and even whole columns also died. Based on these observations, a maintenance concept of iterative column regeneration via sprouting was being developed.