Located in the center of a neighborhood built specifically to showcase new developments in sustainable and ecological architecture, Hamburg's completely wooden Wälderhaus ("Forest House") is a recent and magnificent addition to Germany's burgeoning culture of green architecture.
Located in the Hamburg district of Wilhelmsburg and completed in 2012, the Wälderhaus was designed by a team from the Hamburg-based architecture firm Studio Andreas Heller. The building is constructed almost entirely out of solid wood, and is designed to use a third less energy than is prescribed by Germany's already progressive energy saving regulations. Innovative photovoltaic and geothermal systems also augment the Wälderhaus's energy supply.
What the building houses is perhaps even more remarkable. In addition to a hotel and restaurant, the building features a permanent exhibition on the relationship between forest and city, a science center, and an event hall used primarily for forums on ecological conservation and green energy initiatives. The site played host to the International Garden Show Hamburg 2013, and any visitor to the Wälderhaus ought to also take a walk around the immediate area to take in the many other sustainable housing projects in Wilhelmsburg.