Wedding Advanced Laboratories
Location: Berlin, Germany
Client: Beuth University of applied Sciences in Berlin
Date: 2017 Competition
Budget: 55mil euro
AZPML: Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Maider Llaguno-Munitxa, Ivaylo Nachev, Amaya Luzarraga Francesco Coser, Chiara Tomei, Chiara Sanguin, Sohum Bagaria, Alaitz Arsuaga, Howe Chan
Our proposal for the WAL building in Beuth University departs from some architectural references related to the client, Beuth University, such as the Alte Nazareth Kirche from Karl-Friedrich Schinkel, and the Neue Nazareth Kirche from architect Max Spitta. This is determinant in the choice of materiality, which also relates to the bricklaying tradition of Beuth University, developed by Christian Peter Wilhelm Beuth, who lends his name to the University, who was a close friend of Karl-Friedrich Schinkel and a true pioneer in technical education in the Prussian State.
But even more important were the historical references within the University which can be traced to Haus Beuth, the original building of the University, designed by Berliner Architekt and Stadtbaurat Ludwig Hoffmann, who designed the building in the classical Prussian style with a vertical order in the façade and a sharp-pitched roof. The tradition of Prussian architecture which Ludwig Hoffmann practiced with brick buildings with pointed arches and pointed pitched roofs such as the Heinrich-Schliemann-Gymnasium in Prenzlauer Berg are important references for a building which occupies an inevitably monumental position in the University campus. This type of architecture is also a direct precedent of the expressionist architecture of Hans Poelzig and Bruno Taut.
Our proposal tries to reclaim for the University an architectural tradition which seems to have been lost in the wave of modernist buildings that constitute now the bulk of the University’s building stock, and that we aim to rebalance. Our project tries to engage with a Neo-Gothic tradition which is very Berliner and also common to many University campuses world-wide (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Rijksuniversitat, Free University Brussels…) and which possesses a certain gravitas and timeless quality which is a trademark of higher education institutions worldwide, and which should now be updated with new technologies, such as solar panels, natural ventilation systems and other sustainable building technologies.