Germany, Aachen 

Institute for Physical Chemistry


Study 2000
Design Volkwin Marg mit Joachim Rind
Project manager Jörg Greuel
Design team Michael Haase, Gunnar Dittrich, Tobias Unterberg
Project team Henrike Münker, Tobias Unterberg, Ralf Herkrath
Structural engineers Ingenieurgemeinschaft Führer-Kosch-Jürges, Aachen
Technical building equipment Zibell-Willner und Partner, Cologne
Client Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb NRW Aachen
Construction period 2003–2004
Gross area 6,900 m²



Joerg Hempel

The new laboratory building and the existing Institutes for Organic and Inorganic Chemistry built in the fifties constitute a planning ensemble. The new building is laid out as a doubleloaded corridor design round a garden courtyard parallel to the existing structure, creating an ample entrance area.

The naturally lit entrance hall as a central circulation area is glazed over all three floors and towards the garden courtyard, making orientation easy. The cascaded, landscaped courtyard allows daylight into the foyer of the lecture hall in the basement, and can be accessed both from there and from the ground floor. The ground floor accommodates two large laboratory areas and the seminar rooms. On each of the second and third floors, two teaching departments face both the garden court and the central entrance hall. The workshops are located in a directly adjoining part of the building. The training area for chemistry laboratory technicians is likewise compactly structured on two floors and accessed via a separate entrance. Though it is thus spatially selfcontained, the direct proximity of the faculties and workshops generates synergy effects.

In height and material, the new building harmonizes with the existing buildings. Whereas the threestorey old building has a brick facade in front with stuccoed window frames and articulation on a single level, the stuccolike concrete supports and horizontals in the facade dominating the design in the new building are visibly structural elements, and constitute a facade structure that encloses all three floors.

The post-and-crosspiece facade is set back around 50 cm behind this skeleton. Installed in the spaces between are rigid slat screens made of ceramic plates, which to some extent form closed features. The professors’ rooms on the front corners of the buildings are transparent thanks to their post-and-crosspiece, full-floorheight facades. The entrance hall and stairwell facades provide conspicuous glazed interstices that not only let daylight into the building but also make the internal organization clear from outside.