The complex for the Institutes for Biological Research in Dresden extends the university’s existing main circulation axis westward, past the new library. With two parallel building volumes, which accommodate the four departments of botany, genetics, microbiology, and zoology on the first and second floor, it incorporates the comb-structure of the existing university ensemble.
A glazed communication and activities hall connects both buildings and opens up towards the pedestrian circulation axis to the north via the main entrance on the ground floor and to the ascending, open landscape on the first floor. The topography and vegetation extend into the unheated glass hall as a flowing visual and spatial connection in the form of landscaped terraces. The design aim was to create an open atmosphere for teaching and research in the new institute. On the ground floor, the hall provides access to the student facilities, such as laboratories and common rooms, the dean’s office and the cafeteria. As a centre of communication, it invites students and professors to meet here, exchange their thoughts and ideas, and add new impetus to both research and teaching.
A wood-clad solitary volume, which was inserted in the hall, accommodates two lab rooms each on the first and second floor above the main entrance. As great importance is attached to lab work as part of the scientific studies, the lab rooms designed as “space within a space” are both part of the large hall and simultaneously directly assigned to the single departments, yet without disrupting the research activities in the laboratories.
With outwardly orientated, modern lab areas, the departments in both building wings functionally connect seminar rooms and offices on the side facing the hall. In addition to technical functions, integrated glass cubes serve as meeting rooms in the central zone. Animal stables as well as greenhouses are located on the recessed top floor directly above the department for zoology respectively botany.
Anthracite-coloured fibre cement boards were used for the façade of both elongated main buildings. The fixed glazing of the continuous window façade, which was designed as a post-and-beam construction, is interrupted at regular intervals by narrow wooden turn-tilt window frames. On the outside of the façade, adjustable, horizontal shading devices from aluminium lamellas are mounted on building-high pilaster strips.