Werner Sobek receives the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit)

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Honoring Werner Sobek as a visionary of sustainable construction
[Picture: René Müller ]

Structural Engineer and Architect Dr. E.h. Dr. h.c. Werner Sobek has been awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit). On Tuesday (May 17) at the University of Stuttgart, Theresia Bauer, Minister of Science and Art, paid special tribute to Professor Sobek’s extraordinary commitment to climate protection and his services to sustainable construction."It is both an honor and a pleasure for me to present Werner Sobek with the Order of Merit. Werner Sobek is a pioneer in the field of architecture, and his visionary ideas for sustainable building have helped to firmly established the concepts of climate protection and global responsibility. He has decisively shaped the innovative building and living environments of the future," emphasized Theresia Bauer.

As a structural engineer and architect, Werner Sobek constructed resource and energy-saving high-rise buildings, as well as transparent, technologically smart residential buildings of pioneering quality. In 2000, he founded the "Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK)", and also co-founded the Stuttgart Institute of Sustainability Foundation in 2011, a non-profit organization that promotes research on sustainable building techniques. "With his commitment to sustainability in building and his dedication to the improvement and advancement of building culture, Werner Sobek provided the impetus for a turning point in architecture and civil engineering," said Theresia Bauer.

Werner Sobek was born in Aalen in 1953. He studied Civil Engineering and Architecture at the University of Stuttgart, where he later also completed his doctoral degree. He then went on to work at the engineering company Schlaich, Bergermann und Partner Stuttgart. In 1992, he founded the Werner Sobek architectural office here in Stuttgart, which now also has branches in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Istanbul, Moscow, New York and Vienna. In 1991, Sobek was appointed as professor and head of the Institute for Structural Design and Construction Research at the University of Hanover.

In 1994, Sobek was appointed professor at the University of Stuttgart, as successor to Frei Otto, and director of the Institute for Lightweight Structures and the Central Laboratory of Structural Engineering. In 1998 he became a member of the board of the Baden-Württemberg Chamber of Engineers. In 2000, he took over a second chair as successor to Jörg Schlaich and founded the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK). Since 2002 he has been a member of the Baden-Württemberg Chamber of Architects, an extraordinary member of the BDA and a member of the German Academy for Urban and Regional Planning.

Werner Sobek was a member of the Research and Technology Advisory Committee at Graz University of Technology from 2006 to 2010 and Chairman of the University Council of the newly founded HafenCity University in Hamburg. In April 2008, Werner Sobek was elected President of the German Sustainable Building Council, of which he is a founding member.

From 2017-2020, Sobek was appointed as spokesperson for the Collaborative Research Center "Adaptive Building Envelopes and Structures for Tomorrow’s Built Environment". The aim of this research center is to find solutions within the construction industry for the pressing ecological and social issues of our time. He has also been a pillar of support for the Cluster of Excellence "Integrative Computer-Based Design and Construction for Architecture".