Schwarzwaldhalle – Black Forest Hall

A 2,575 m2 area, uncluttered by columns or supporting structures. Built in 1953, the Schwarzwaldhalle or Black Forest Hall offers plenty of room for your conventions, concerts, presentations and exhibitions.

The construction of the Schwarzwaldhalle in Karlsruhe caused a sensation throughout Europe: it was the first hall of this size to be built with an unsupported cantilever roof made of prestressed concrete. Erich Schelling, Karlsruhe’s most eminent post-war architect, designed the spectacular hall together with Ulrich Finsterwalder, a civil engineer from Munich. It was inaugurated on 19 August 1953, after only eight months’ planning and construction under public scrutiny.

The most striking feature of the hall is its curved, self-supporting roof, which has a distinctive saddle shape due to its counter-curvature. Architect Erich Schelling found an award-winning expert on concrete shell structures in Ulrich Finsterwalder. The saddle-shaped roof’s shell is only six centimetres thick, which was a groundbreaking static and mechanical engineering achievement at the time—a feat that was not only recognised by experts. The lightweight cantilever roof appears to float atop Schelling’s delicate glass structure.

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