Centre for Virtual Engineering
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Centre for Virtual Engineering


Centre for Virtual Engineering
By Ben van Berkel UNStudio -
Architect Ben van Berkel, co-founder of UNStudio, describes the design of the Centre for Virtual Engineering in Stuttgart, which has received Gold certification from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), as follows: “The Centre for Virtual Engineering (ZVE) was designed as a new prototype for how architecture can incorporate a contemporary understanding of the work place and stimulate new ways of working in the future. Communication is key to new and creative ways of working, and we designed the ZVE of the Fraunhofer IAO to stimulate this at all levels through architecture.” The traditional division of the work environment has therefore been abandoned in preference for visually open spaces that are suitable for both planned and spontaneous meetings, and flexible spaces with shared workstations. This vision extended to the entire building, with laboratories and research areas integrated with areas open to the public. The visitor pathway itself is spectacularly marked by stairs that span the lobby, the highlight of the visitor route being the Virtual Reality area. Construction and design elements integrate to form a coherent structure in which the geometry of the floor plan, composed of curved and straight elements, merges into the saw tooth form of the façade, creating the impression of a continuously shifting surface. Compared to a rectangular design of the same volume, the rounded shape of the building produces a seven per cent smaller footprint and therefore contributes to the sustainability of the building, which was a key design objective from the outset. Low-maintenance, separable and recyclable materials were preferred. All the spaces along the facades, marked by glazed horizontal strips, can be ventilated directly by opening windows. Ceilings without lintels mean that sunlight can penetrate far into the interior spaces, therefore reducing the need for artificial lighting and maximizing the sun’s contribution to winter heating. The building structure partly consists of bubble deck ceilings, which are economical and light, and also allow for column-free spaces.

Location: Stuttgart, Germany
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung
Gross Floor Area:
5.782 m2
Architects: UNStudio, ASPlan
Design Team:
UNStudio - Ben van Berkel, Harm Wassink with Florian Heinzelmann, Tobias Wallisser, Marc Herschel, Kristoph Nowak and Christiane Reuther, Aleksandra Apolinarska, Marc Hoppermann, Moritz Reichartz, Norman Hack, Marcin Koltunski, Peter Irmscher
ASPlan - Horst Ermel, Leopold Horinek, Lutz Weber, Stefan Hausladen, Jürgen Bär, Gunawan Bestari, Joachim Deis, Bernd Hasse, Marlene Hertzler, Michael Kapouranis, Vladislav Litz, Thomas Thrun
Local Executive Architect, Construction Management:
ASPlan Architekten
IDF Global

Rentschler und Riedesser
Müller & Bleher
Landscape Architect:
Gänssle + Hehr
Building Simulation:
Brüssau Bauphysik
Fire Safety:
Halfkann + Kirchner
Facility Management:
Topographical Survey:
Vermessung Hils
Geological Survey:
Alexander Szichta

Bolon, Interfacefloor
Trilux, Nimbus, Waldmann
Soft Furnishings:
Haworth, Bene
Bathroom Appliances:
Hansa, Alape

Outdoor Lighting: Bega

© Christian Richters

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