Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics – Extension, Garching
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V., München
Start of Planning - Completion
2009 - 2013
2 - 8
Planning: Andreas Würmer, Moritz Fritsch, Kurt Bauer, Site management: dreier+lauterbach architekten und ingenieure GmbH, Munich
Total cost 5,000,000 €
Gross floor area 1,520 m²
The new construction, containing offices, a seminar area and a server centre, is an extension of the MPI for Astrophysics in Garching, just north of Munich. Located in a special area designated for higher education and research institutions, the original astrophysics building designed in 1978 by the architects Fehling and Gogel, has a regular geometry composed of a circle and pentagon. Together with the extraterrestrial physics building, the ensemble encloses an inner courtyard with mature trees.
As an additional arm to the star-shaped astrophysics building, the new, three-storey extension with offices, seminar area and computer centre in the basement, is linked to the existing construction by means of a glazed, trapeze-shaped structure. This stairwell area joining the architectures offers an opportunity to communicate and to appreciate the view of the greenery outside.
The concept on which the design of the original structure was based – that research should be pursued in an environment promoting communication, interaction and equality – also prevails in the extension. Differing in terms of materiality and architectural language, the new building exhibits an independent and contemporary style.
The smooth plaster finish with room-height windows and sliding metallic louvre elements characterising the extension, clearly contrasts the perforated façade and fair-faced concrete of the existing structure. In juxtaposition to the solidity expressed by Fehling and Gogel's construction, the glazed ground floor, with a seminar area opening to green spaces outside, makes the new structure appear to float.