Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology and Urban Planning, Tübingen
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V., Munich
Competition 1st prize
Start of Planning - Completion
2000 - 2005
1 - 8
Planning: Kai Otto, Hanna Stengelin, Andreas Mrusek,
Markus Dunau, Site management: Architekturbüro Schmitt, Tübingen
Total cost 26,000,000 €
Gross floor area 10,690 m²
The Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology is situated on a sloping terrain to the north of the city of Tübingen. The competition concept specified a modular building arrangement throughout the campus grounds, taking into account topography, landscape setting, as well as a new organisation of functional relations. In alternation with the existing buildings aligned parallel to the incline, the new constructions are placed perpendicular to the slope. This allows optimal utilisation of the plots of land and a harmonious integration of the structures. A new campus path connects the old and new buildings.
The institute carries out basic research on the embryonic development of animals and the development of nerve tissue. Two parallel office and lab areas are separated by a hall space, which is open all the way up to the roof. A footpath going up the slope is continued inside the building, in the form of an interior built landscape with terraces and panorama platforms, and cascade-like stairs and bridges. The hall is the communicative centre of the building and is illuminated via a large glass roof. Access corridors and connecting bridges link the large lab areas to the office spaces, which are glazed towards the hall. On the side facing the valley, the uppermost storey was set back to create a large terrace with an impressive view of the Swabian Alb.
Determining factors of the exterior design included integration of the buildings in the surrounding landscape and visual minimisation of the structures. The façade is composed of wood and glass, with an inner layer of bright blue glass panels covered by the wooden slats of escape balconies.