XLAB

University of Göttingen
Library Center and Experimental Laboratory

competition for realisation 2001


All central functions of the campus are spatially connected. Library, guest-house and XLAB are arranged along a north-south oriented pedestrian way leading from the students’ residences to the refectory and finally to town. A dense sequence of squares and activities is thus generated. The urban center of the campus, with its landscaped spaces and expressively-shaped structures, maintains its consciously-intended distance from the islands of institute buildings.

The corpus of the library grows out of the topography of its surroundings: in interpreting it, it becomes part of it. The library levels thrust like geological layers out of the incline beneath the students’ residences into the strips of greenery on the south side. Decked levels are offset against each other and roofs hang or fold over them.

The building stages up into the greenery. Precise cuts and slices with sharp-edged orthogonal facades and irregularly-deviating alignments give the impression that the building itself is a rudiment of the original landscape and that the square has been artificially cut out. The construction becomes both an inward and an outward experiencingof the landscape.

The XLAB stands on a lawn plateau between forum and refectory like a rock. Sloping facades, both assimilating and suggesting directional axes at the same time, integrate the building into the spatial order of the campus; nevertheless, it remains itself: a self-contained unit.

The facades are provided with a planking of translucent structural glass imprinted with a large pixel structure. The colored wind-paper shines through, giving the glass facade the impression of depth. The window strips differ in height and width. All rooms are naturally ventilated by flaps integrated in the facade.

When it is dark and the rooms are illuminated from within, the XLAB emerges as a mysterious sculpture representing the center of the campus.