The architecture of the new communication centres

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Design of the FOCUS communication centre on the Beutenberg campus. Image: CODE U
Design of the FOCUS communication centre on the Beutenberg campus. Image: CODE UNIQUE Architekten GmbH, Dresden und RSP Freiraum GmbH, Dresden

Communication and encounter are essential components of science. The discussion of researchers with each other, with the economy and society creates new perspectives - and thus innovation. In order to implement this even better in the Jena science network, two communication centres are being built: FORUM in the city centre next to the main university building and FOCUS on the Beutenberg campus. An exhibition of the architectural designs shows what the centres will look like from 12 to 23 December in the Abbe Center on Beutenberg (Hans-Knöll-Straße 1). Not only the winning designs will be on display there, but also all the submissions for the competition to realise the new buildings. The realisation of the architectural highlights is made possible above all by a grant of 18.4 million euros from the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung. Construction will begin next spring and the new buildings are scheduled for completion by the end of 2025.

Coherent integration into the urban environment 

The FORUM communication centre near the main university building is being realised according to the plans of BAYER ARCHITEKTEN, Nuremberg with WGF Objekt Landschaftsarchitekten GmbH, Nuremberg. The consortium won the first prize among the 19 entries. The jury praised the coherent integration of the Nuremberg design into the urban environment between the main building, the Inselplatz and the extension to the Griesbach House, where Schiller held his inaugural lecture. The simple and precise cubature of the building is structured by a regular grid, which is reflected in the glazed longitudinal façade. The transparency, the views into and out of the building, skilfully emphasises the desire for communication and openness.

Sustainability integrated into the design

The FOCUS communication centre will be built at the central location of the Beutenberg campus according to the plans of CODE UNIQUE Architekten GmbH, Dresden, with RSP Freiraum GmbH, Dresden. This decision was preceded by a long discussion, as from the 13 designs submitted, the jury considered not only the Dresden application consortium but also EM2N Architekten Berlin GmbH, Zurich/Berlin, with impuls°Landschaftsarchitektur Facius. Facius PartGmbB, Jena, as capable of being realised and winning. Both designs can be seen in the exhibition, as can the other eleven.

The jury was convinced by the striking urban setting of the design by CODE UNIQUE Architekten GmbH, Dresden and the landscape architects from RSP Freiraum GmbH, Dresden, which fits very well into the campus network. The concrete base plateau is contrasted with a light, seemingly floating, transparent structure above it. The chosen combination of rainwater-storing and evaporating green roofs with photovoltaic systems takes contemporary sustainability aspects into account and is also well integrated in terms of design.

Until construction begins next year, the designs still have to be revised slightly. Nevertheless, the exhibition already offers a glimpse into the city and Beutenberg image of the future - and the many proposed architectural alternatives.

Public award ceremony on 20 December

On 20 December 2022, starting at 6 pm, the award ceremony will take place with a presentation of the award-winning works at the Abbe Center Beutenberg. Participants from the jury will include the President of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Walter Rosenthal, as well as the chair of the prize jury, Prof. Hilde Léon. The interested public is also cordially invited to this event.

Facts about the exhibition

Opening hours: from 12 December from 2 pm until 23 December 2022, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5 pm
Location: Abbe Center Beutenberg, Hans-Knöll-Straße 1, 07745 Jena
Admission is free of charge.

About the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung

The Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung has set itself the goal of creating space for scientific breakthroughs. As a partner of excellent science, it supports both basic research and application-oriented research and teaching in the STEM disciplines (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology). Founded in 1889 by the physicist and mathematician Ernst Abbe, the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung is one of the oldest and largest private science-funding foundations in Germany. It is the sole owner of Carl Zeiss AG and SCHOTT AG. Its projects are financed from the dividend distributions of the two foundation companies.