Pavillon am Ring

Freiburg, Germany

Known as the ‘Jewel of the Black Forest’, the city of Freiburg is located in the southwest of Germany and is the hub of the Breisgau region.

Forming part of a larger plan to remodel the centre of the city, Freiburg’s tramline has been extended and a new tram stop created to offer easier commuting across the city.

The building provides a new gateway to the historic district. A key element of the project was to design the pavilion building that houses the tram stop and retail outlets. Buro Happold worked closely with the rest of the design team to deliver the lightweight, sustainable structure.


Working closely with the architects, our team needed to engineer an elegant and economical structure. The building’s roof features unusual free form shapes inspired by leaves, so an important part of our work was to develop a structural solution that will realise this essential element of the architectural vision. An additional challenge was the need to deliver a basement level within a complex, constricted city centre site.

Evening view of people gathered in a cafe at Pavillon Am Ring
Recognising the value of building high quality infrastructure for its citizens, the city of Freiburg commissioned a new tram station to service visitors to the historic district of Friedrichring. Image: David Franck


With the footprint of the building and the client’s budget key considerations, our team has designed bespoke column beam connections that made it possible to locate all of the drainage and electrical services within the columns themselves. This highly creative solution meant that the services were easily installed and can be easily maintained, while also saving both space and money.

The complicated site conditions, including nearby roads, tram tracks and existing foundations, resulted in the need for us to carefully consider the placement of temporary works for the basement. We have kept these works self-contained, taking up as little space as possible to reduce the impact on the surrounding infrastructure. To reduce construction costs, we installed the piled foundations for the building and the temporary works at the same time.

View from beneath Pavillon Am Ring's curved roof
The new tram stop’s primary feature is its expressive curved roof, which provides a striking contrast to the other buildings in the square. Image: David Franck


The Pavillon am Ring provides a striking and contemporary shelter for both residents and visitors, as well as a cafe space and facilities for staff. Its unique and sustainable construction marks the entrance to the historic centre of Freiburg, marrying the city’s architectural roots while representing its forward thinking approach to green, innovative design.

View of people eating in the cafe at Pavillon Am Ring
With its emphasis on bright open space, the pavilion is helping to redefine the experience of the square, offering a vibrant and dynamic new meeting and departure point. Image: David Franck

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