The Helmholtz Institute for Renewable Energies HI ERN is currently under construction on the campus of the Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg. In the new building research will be carried out to find new solutions for a climate-neutral, sustainable and cost-effective energy supply. The main areas of research will be printable photovoltaics and the use of hydrogen as a source of renewable energy. In order to meet the requirements of the brief, a compact and functional concept was developed. This concept achieves technical requirements and creates an outstanding interior environment. Flexible laboratory zones for interdisciplinary tasks are provided for the scientists. The new building is a rectangular structure with a silver-grey perforated metal façade and continuous bands of windows. Inside, the landscaped courtyard is an area with a unique atmosphere. Thanks to its completely glazed façade, it enjoys a variety of views through the building and serves as a quiet area for relaxation and communication for the scientists and researchers.
The main entrance to the institute on the corner of Immerwahrstraße and Cauerstraße is marked by a glazed recess on the ground floor. The foyer, flooded with daylight, is highly adaptable. It can be used as an exhibition area or transformed into a larger multi-functional event location by opening up some classrooms or seminar rooms or even part of the cafeteria and the courtyard. A main central stairway leads from the foyer to the upper floors. The physics and chemistry laboratories are located on the first and second floors. They are designed to allow the creation of large interconnected laboratory areas for interdisciplinary exchange. On each floor the scientists’ offices are arranged in a U-shape around the landscaped courtyard and are placed directly next to the laboratory areas. The meeting rooms and the relaxation and communication areas are located in the corners of the building. On the third floor the new ‘Helmholtz Siemens Joint Lab’ is to be installed at a later date with additional workrooms and offices. From here it is also possible to access the rooftop technical areas which service all the main laboratory areas via vertical shafts. The entire roof is covered with photovoltaic panels which will also be used for research purposes.