German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases
The new building for the DZNE, where the similarities and differences of various brain diseases are studied, is located on the southern edge of University Hospital’s Venusberg Campus in Bonn. With a usable floor area of approximately 16,000 m2, the DZNE provides optimal scientific conditions for an international team of more than 500 employees and visiting researchers.
The building volume is split into three distinctive, organically shaped individual buildings. These form a coherent ensemble with extensive intervening outdoor spaces. The three-part division corresponds exactly to the internal functions: the entrance building with all the general facilities – which include an auditorium, a cafeteria, a library, and the clinical research department; the central research building with all the laboratory facilities and offices; and the preclinical institute. The three buildings are joined by hinges that can be used as meeting points.
The site’s defining element is a pine forest. Despite enclosing a considerable amount of space, the buildings are successfully integrated within the forest by virtue of their forms and the design of their facades. Even though the workplaces are up to 17 meters away from the facade, the building’s forest setting can be felt everywhere. This feeling is underscored by the striking facade of glass fins, which draws attention to the forest, reflects it inward as well as outward, and takes on the colors of its foliage as they change with the seasons.
With their flowing contours, the three-story buildings reinforce the impression of openness and transparency and emphasize the special status of the DZNE as the culmination of the University Hospital campus. Whereas the ensemble opens out toward the forest to the south and east, the entrance building at the north establishes a clear presence and a distinctive point of arrival for the DZNE. Upon entering the building through the main entrance, you immediately perceive the forest – an impression that is particularly impressive because a thirty-meter-deep, four-story-high entrance hall lies in between. Inside and outside enter into a surprisingly strong dialogue.