SL Rasch GmbH Special and Lightweight Structures

The SL Rasch GmbH Special and Lightweight Structures, based in Stuttgart, Germany, specializes in special and lightweight structures integrating architecture and engineering. The company was founded by Mahmoud Bodo Rasch. Among the most famous projects are the large retractable umbrellas in front of the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina and the Makkah Clock Tower, the tallest clock tower in the world.

SL Rasch GmbH Special and Lightweight Structures
Practice information
Key architects
  • Mustafa Rasch, Chairman
  • Jürgen Bradatsch, Chief Architect
Significant works and honors
BuildingsConvertible Umbrellas and Sliding Domes for the Extension of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina
clock and tower-top of the Makkah Clock Tower
AwardsBest Innovation, "International Association for Automation and Robotics in Construction", Houston, Texas


In 1980 Mahmoud Bodo Rasch founded the architecture firm Rasch and Associates and then, in 1991, the special and lightweight construction firm SL GmbH. In 1998 Rasch's long-standing chief architect Jürgen Bradatsch became a partner in the architectural office Rasch und Bradatsch. Since 1998 the company has been trading as SL Rasch GmbH Special and Lightweight Structures.


The founder Mahmoud Bodo Rasch studied with Frei Otto, worked in the Frei Otto Warmbronn studio and at the Institute for Lightweight Structures at the University of Stuttgart. An interdisciplinary team of professionals composed of architects, structural and mechanical engineers, computer specialists and designers works together under one roof.

SL Rasch pursues Frei Otto's[1] principles of lightweight construction on the basis of scientific research and brings the minimalistic forms together in harmony with the ornamentation of sacred buildings.[2] SL Rasch is specialised in the development and construction of special and lightweight structures such as large umbrellas and convertible roofs.[3] The foundation of the work is research and the development of specific software.

The firm works with a High Performance Computing Cluster[4] and employs about 30 people.

Projects (selected)Edit

  • 1987: Prototypes for solar-powered umbrellas, 5 × 5m, Dschidda, Saudi Arabia
  • 1987: Toldo for the Quba Mosque, Medina, Saudi Arabia
  • 1988: Convertible roof for the open-air theater, Wiltz, Luxembourg
  • 1990: Tent structures for the beach residence "Thuwal Palace", Thuwal, Province Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • 1992: 27 sliding domes, movable hi-tech domes for the courtyards of the Prophet's Holy Mosque, Medina, Saudi Arabia
  • 1992: 12 large convertible umbrellas (17 × 18m) for the two courtyards of the Prophet's Holy Mosque, Medina, Saudi Arabia[5]
  • 1992: Integrated lighting system for the Piazza of the Prophet's Holy Mosque, Medina, Saudi Arabia
  • 1994: Umbrellas for the inner courtyard of the Renaissance Castle, Wasseralfingen, Germany
  • 1995: Domes for the Guekdepe Mosque, Turkmenistan
  • 1995: Two-mast tent in a park, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • 1996: Starwave tent and 5 × 5 m umbrellas for Biennale, Venice, Italy
  • 1996: "Jubilee ship", pneumatic structure for the Academy of Arts, Berlin, Germany
  • 1997: Tents for beach palace, Obhur, Saudi Arabia
  • 1997: Modern Tent City as a temporary accommodation for pilgrims, Mina, Saudi Arabia
  • 1998: "Maqam Ibrahim", shrine for the al-Haram Mosque, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • 1999: Convertible tent roof for the Robinson Club, Fuerteventura, Spain
  • 1999: Domes and lighting system for "Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan", Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 1999: Domes for Putra Mosque, Putrajaya, Malaysia
  • 2000: Round tents for a showroom, Leonberg, Germany
  • 2000: Convertible umbrellas (16 × 16 m) in front of Al Hussein Mosque, Cairo, Egypt
  • 2000: "Kaaba Stairs" movable stairs for the "Kaaba", al-Haram Shareef Mosque, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • 2000: Venezuela Pavilion at Expo 2000, Hannover, Germany
  • 2001: "Tanzbrunnen", membrane roof, Cologne, Germany
  • 2001: "Sail Island" sail structures on the Red Sea, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • 2001: Stair-climbing ATV
  • 2002: Toldo, Villa d'Este, Rome, Italy
  • 2002: Convertible umbrellas, Hôtel d´Angleterre, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 2002: "Minbar", movable minbar for al-Haram Shareef Mosque, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • 2003: Desert Ship 1, desert car
  • 2004: Convertible roof for castle ruins, Scherenburg, Germany
  • 2004: Roof tent structure Retail Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • 2004: Umbrella concept for an event canopy, design with Frei Otto, Schlossplatz, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 2004: VIP-Travellounge
  • 2005: Desert Ship 2, desert car
  • 2007: Shading umbrellas and tent roof, Royal Terminal, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
  • 2007: Convertible umbrellas, Sandy Lane Hotel, St. James, Barbados
  • 2009–2012: "Tower tents", tents on top of the Abraj Al Bait Towers, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • 2010: Membrane awning, International School, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 2011: 250 convertible umbrellas (26 × 26 m) for the Prophet's Holy Mosque, Medina, Saudi Arabia[6]
  • 2012: "Royal Clock" and tower top on the "Royal Clock Tower" of the Abraj Al Bait Towers, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • 2013: Convertible umbrellas at the Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas
  • 2013: "Temporary Mataf Ring Structure", provisional circular bridge for pedestrians, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • 2015: "Prototype U53", development of the biggest convertible umbrella in the world, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • 2018: New forecourt with umbrella roof in front of a casino, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 2019: Convertible membranes for skylights, Private Club House, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


  • 1992: Deutscher Werkbund Bayern (German Work Federation Bavaria)
  • 1993: Best Innovation, "International Association for Automation and Robotics in Construction", Houston, Texas
  • 1993: "Imam Bukhari Educational Complex", Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 1st prize in international competition
  • 2014: Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture


  1. ^ Nerdinger, Winfried: Frei Otto. Das Gesamtwerk: Leicht Bauen Natürlich Gestalten, 2005, ISBN 3-7643-7233-8
  2. ^ Frei Otto, Bodo Rasch: Finding Form: Towards an Architecture of the Minimal, 1996, ISBN 3930698668
  3. ^
  4. ^ High-Tech-Sonnenschutz in der Wüste SL Rasch setzt auf SGI LÖsungen
  5. ^ ISLAM: Allahs Schattenmann, Der Spiegel, 15/2002
  6. ^ Prophet's Mosque Courtyard Treatment Archived 2013-10-17 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit