Today, one of the largest and most modern lecture facilities in Europe is officially inaugurated on the campus of RWTH Aachen University in Germany. The new 14,000m² facility named C.A.R.L. (Central Auditorium for Research and Learning) offers space for over 4,000 students and comprises 11 lecture halls, 16 seminar rooms, break-out spaces, and cafés, as well as housing the University’s physics collection, storage spaces, workspaces and a large bicycle parking basement. The two largest lecture halls contain 1,000 and 800 seats within the new building.
photo © Michael Rasche
Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects design is part of the RWTH Aachen University’s major development strategy adding over 280,000 m² of additional space to the campus, which is to form one of the largest research campuses in Europe.
The new educational facility points to a more holistic understanding of learning and science and signals a humanistic approach focusing on the human scale. The C.A.R.L. is centrally located at the meeting point of Campus Mitte and Campus West.
The four storey lecture hall centre is conceived as a singular sculptural object, breaking with the city block structure by pulling back from the adjacent line of buildings and creating a plaza and green urban space surrounding it. The compact building comprises two solid masses united by an airy, transparent atrium cutting through the building in a ziggurat pattern. The large atrium integrates several informal spaces of various sizes to form squares and terraces for social activity and knowledge sharing.
“The central idea is the contrast between the inherently introverted auditoriums and the dynamic and open social circulation zone that connects the auditoriums. The two large stairs and connecting bridges will be the point for everyday ‘meet and greet’ of fellow students and lecturers,” says Founding Partner John Foldbjerg Lassen.
Contributed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Photos © Margot Gottschling, Michael Rasche
Client: Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb NRW Aachen
Architects: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, Höhler+Partner Architekten
Engineers: Werner Sobek Stuttgart GmbH, Klett Ingenieur GmbH
Other consultants: Kempen Krause Ingenieurgesellschaft, Müller-BBM, Gade Mortensen Akustik A/S, Erben GmbH, 3+ Freiraumplaner
Area: 14,000 m²
Competition: 2009, 1st prize in invited international competition
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