Austrian building looks like its namesake – a loaf of bread

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Artist's rendition of the exterior of the House of Bread(Credit: Coop Himmleb(l)au)

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It's not every day that an architectural firm gets to design a building that closely represents a company's end product. But that's exactly what Austrian firm Coop Himmleb(l)au did with the design of a new building appropriately titled "House of Bread" (or "Haus des Brotes" in German) for international baking brand Backaldrin.

The building consists of two different elements – a box-shaped plinth or base, and the free-form exhibition area that appears to float like an abstract loaf of bread above it.

The plinth is comprised of a cast-in-place concrete façade with a 120-person capacity, and will be used for events, workshops and presentations, while the upper area is for exhibition purposes only. Think of the latter as a modern museum or cabinet of curiosities presenting the history of bread-making.

To create the unique bread-shaped exhibition area, the architects used layered circles of laminated timber then clad the exterior in stainless steel shingles. They kept the interior of the wooden shell exposed and covered by nothing but a layer of paint. Tables, walls and cabinets built into the structure provide different surfaces to exhibit the museum pieces.

To shorten the construction time, the firm used a prefabrication method known as 3D CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) to ensure both the accuracy and fit of each section.

Inside the exhibition area, visitors will be treated to an open circular atrium with a collection of different bread-related items and historical pieces suspended from the top of the structure in what is described as a "differentiated crystal chandelier." A long flowing spiral stairway encloses the atrium and allows visitors a view of the suspended items from different angles while also providing access to the two exhibition levels.

Construction of the House of Bread is expected to be completed later this year.

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