© Gerrit Engel

The Experimental Factory Magdeburg is a research institution for a whole range of fields, including the methods and processes of production and the technology of coatings. The building consists of a compact combination of three volumes. Along the street there is a five-storey structure 15m deep for office and laboratory use. The middle building, used for large-scale experiments, is a single-storey hall 8.5m high that is completely separated from the main structure. The western side contains a testing-space for electromagnetic fields.

These heterogeneous elements of the programme are wrapped into a single complex by a large “blanket” in orange, pink and silver stripes. The extruded form of the building takes account of the factory’s position in between a busy four-lane road and the campus on the one hand, and between an existing and a future institute on the other. Accordingly, the north and south façades are treated as cut edges made of translucent glass, while the metal blanket forms a protective skin towards the road. While the space of the building is generated by the continuation of this street façade and its folding into a three-dimensional formation, the blanket expresses its own two-dimensionality in all of its details. For the visitor approaching the university from the east, highly visible above the clutter of road signs and traffic lights, the building constitutes a beacon heralding the world of research, innovation and learning.

© Gerrit Engel
© Gerrit Engel
© Gerrit Engel

Inside the building a double-storey foyer links the various parts of the “factory”. Its orientation allows access from both directions, so that a public route will be able to connect three research institutes like beads on a string. In this space the rhythm of the building was used to generate a spatial composition that interprets the phenomenon of mechanical production.

© Gerrit Engel
© bitterbredt.de
© bitterbredt.de
© Gerrit Engel

brief

  • Multifunctional building for laboratories, production facilities and offices

client

  • Zentrum für Produkt-, Verfahrens- und Prozessinnovations GmbH, Magdeburg

data

  • gross floor area: 6.700 m²
  • 1998 — 2001