Tradition meets modernity
The minimalist design of the lightweight architecture by SL Rasch is based on scientific findings and the natural distribution of forces. Combining classic and hi-tech materials permits highly complex but extremely lightweight designs.
In addition to this scientifically based design expertise, SL Rasch also has unique experience in dealing with historic architectural contexts. We have been involved with the design of the two great mosques in Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia for more than 30 years. Today, the development, planning and design of a wide range of different structures and objects inspired by Islamic architectural traditions is one of SL Rasch’s core competencies.
Ornamentation is firmly anchored in Islamic architecture. Through the centuries, it has been an integral part of every architectural language in the world. While modernists avoided it for ideological reasons, it has long since made a comeback in contemporary architecture. SL Rasch is committed to cultivating ornamentation and combines traditional artisanal techniques with cutting-edge technologies. Precious woods, marble and gemstones play an equally important part in the production of geometric and floral ornamentation as state-of-the-art composites.
When the geometric principles of traditional ornamentation have to be applied to large self-supporting facades, the building physics are extremely challenging. SL Rasch refers to such projects as ornamental structures. The synergies between ornamental geometry and the logical, natural distribution of forces result in a new aesthetic quality.
Between ornament and hi-tech
Traditional glass roofs are meant to provide daylight, permit natural ventilation and feature an ornamental design. SL Rasch has translated these requirements into contemporary solutions, including a computer-controlled sliding mechanism for the glass roofs – despite the fact that they weigh several hundred tonnes.
Self-supporting window screens
For the Great Mosque in Mecca, we developed window screens that echo the Islamic architectural tradition of the mashrabiya. Because artisanal production in marble would not have complied with safety regulations, SL Rasch developed a steel structure with a bronze coating.
The complex geometry of the muqarnas
In Islamic architecture, muqarnas are a transitional element used between right-angled spaces and curved domes. They are regarded as the quintessence of mosque architecture. But in recent times it has become rare for them to be implemented, mainly because of their complex geometry. With its development of parametric programs, SL Rasch is making a significant contribution to the revival of this unique architectural element.
Desert Ship 2 exemplifies a series of vehicles that have been specially designed for navigating open terrain while providing maximum comfort and safety. Simple to drive and easy to operate, Desert Ship 2 is extremely versatile and features large panoramic windows in the cockpit to ensure good all-round visibility. It fulfils a wide variety of functions: besides being equipped for use as a highly flexible mobile office, it can also be used for falconry. Even the most challenging topography is no problem for the Desert Ship 2. Supported by a pneumatic drive, the 480 hp engine can cope with gradients of up to 60%. The large fuel tank provides a maximum range of 1,200 kilometres.
With the aid of a telescopic arm, an integrated tent can be erected behind the vehicle. It provides 250 square metres of air-conditioned space and shade for breaks or longer rest periods.
In 1996, SL Rasch collaborated with car designer Michael Conrad, a graduate of the Ulm School of Design, on the development of the Sportvelo 1996. The full-suspension sports bike is made of composite materials and has a unique, striking appearance. The prototype has covered a distance of approx. 35,000 kilometres to date. The main frame is a carbon monocoque – a lightweight solution that compensates for some of the weight added by the suspension. Carbon also has the advantage of permitting innovative freeform designs.
Also known as the CRB (Comfort Racing Bike), the concept study was aimed at amateur riders – often older cycling enthusiasts who appreciate more comfort than is provided by harder racing bikes. Triathletes were another potential target group: back in the mid-1990s, they were still using 26-inch wheels with suspension.
Design: Michael Conrad