Top grade for futuristic timber construction

Carpentry students from the commercial vocational school in Wetzikon traditionally compete in the third year of their apprenticeship. The jury did not have an easy job with 72 models to be rated. A futuristic model secured first place twice over.

Apprentices have been competing in model competitions at the vocational school in Wetzikon for over 50 years. It is, therefore, not surprising that a large proportion of the trainees follow this tradition. The criteria and requirements of the competition were presented to the participants in January. 

After the general conditions were known, the participants began with the design and planning of the models. Each learner designs, plans and creates their model of a roof structure especially for this competition. The regulations leave open whether the execution planning is drawn up conventionally by hand or with a CAD program. However, the compulsory part, a hip rafter with four associated jack rafters, must be carried out by hand by all participants.

Even at the beginning of the third year of apprenticeship, the learners could learn a CAD program in class within 30 lessons. Jürg Hugener taught three out of five classes in SEMA’s construction software. The trainees could take additional courses in January and February on a voluntary basis. The focus of the trainees in the companies is especially on the craft of a carpenter. However, a lot of routine in the field of CAD software is required for the type of roof construction as it had to be planned in the competition. Equipped with the necessary know-how, the carpenter apprentices then started planning, designing and executing their models. 

After the models had been submitted, the team of experts consisting of nine entrepreneurs and project managers from timber construction companies in the canton of Zurich, headed by chairman Peter Schönenberger, dedicated themselves to the assessment and evaluation of the models. Various criteria are included in the evaluation of the models, such as work planning, staging, craftsmanship, wood list, and the originality and scope of work.

The trainees put a lot of sweat, passion and great ideas into their models. Prior to the announcement of the results, Mr Traugott Pfister, group leader at GBW vocational school, praised the general good level of performance in the model competition. Erwin Peter, President of the Zurich Cantonal Association, also motivated the trainees for their last year of apprenticeship.

72 models were submitted this year. In half of the models, the ground plan, respectively, the rafter system was designed with a CAD program. These included all three winning models. Alongside Xeno Bösch in third place and second-placed Fadri Landolt, Adrian Hugener from the "Frischknecht Holzbau Team AG" took first place with a futuristic-looking model. In addition to fame and honour, there was also a large toolbox as a non-cash prize awarded to the winner of the competition organised by "Holzbau Schweiz" of the Zurich Cantonal Association.

It was mere coincidence that the winner of this year's competition, Adrian Hugener, is the son of Jürg Hugener, vocational school teacher and future head of the specialist group. The experts only see the created model including drawings and an anonymous number during the assessment – the team of experts will only find out which student is behind the models after the placement has been determined.

Siegermodell von Adrian Hugener mit der Nr. 11

In addition to the competition of the Zurich Cantonal Association, the models are also awarded prizes in a public competition. Visitors to the exhibition were able to marvel at and assess the models extensively. Adrian Hugener also won the audience award, taking first place for his model with the tapered ground plan and a rising ridge.


In addition to the first three places, 25 other apprentices were awarded top grades for their model. Another model competition was held by Holzbau Schweiz in the autumn, during the "Messe Holz" trade fair in Basel (15 – 19 October 2019) – that time, however, at a national level. Each specialist class could submit three models. There were 18 models from the Canton of Zurich that were presented – really fierce competition for Adrian Hugener. An exciting event with numerous outstanding models presented.