Since 2008 the architect Pamela Voigt has been working together with the structural engineer Elke Genzel as the working group BAKU – Bauen mit Kunststoffen (Building with plastics) in Leipzig.
Both began research in this field in 2001 while working in the interdisciplinary research group FOMEKK at the Bauhaus University Weimar. The knowledge gathered during this time on historical and current buildings made of glass fiber reinforced plastics has been continuously expanded to include other fiber reinforced plastics (FRP).
Architectures ranging from structures made of composite materials with carbon up to latest developments of building systems such as the use natural fibers in combination with bio-based resin systems as Natural Composite Panels (NCP) are being explored in cooperation with the company c3house GmbH, the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials Halle (IWMH) and the Süddeutsches Kunststoffinstitut Halle (SKZ Halle) among others.
Another area of operation is the preservation of historical plastic structures. In addition to the propagation of their cultivated insight on the topic through publications, specialist lectures or exhibitions, this also includes the implementation planning of renovations or reconstructions of listed plastic buildings like the Isler atrium roofing of the Daniel Straub secondary school in Geislingen an der Steige for instance.
The planning and construction process with plastics is heavily influenced by the in-depth communication of the materials scientists, architects, structural engineers and manufacturing companies. Just as diverse as all the possible material combinations and the design of the fiber fabrics, are the architectural elements themselves. FRPs have only been in use since the 1960s. Their potential within architecture are however far from being exhausted and will therefore continue being explored and tested. All of this is only made possible due to the inquisitiveness of specialists as well as the continued support of the economy and the government. Interdisciplinary scientific exchange, such as specialist conferences, are an indispensable tool in this process. The CiA (Composites in Architecture) is one such conference and is organized by Elke Genzel on behalf of SKZ Halle.
A large part of research is also analyzing what is already in existence. As such, preserving and exploring the historical buildings is a particular concern, which Pamela Voigt has dedicated herself to.