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KIT Energy Lab 2.0, Behnisch Architekten

Research framework: KIT Energy Lab 2.0 by Behnisch Architects

The rectangular building has been fitted into the campus grounds at their northern margin. Behnisch Architects designed Energy Lab 2. as a solitary volume topped by a striking sawtooth roof. The building houses a section of offices and a large hall, both featuring a timber frame substructure and translucent polycarbonate panels, which clad the research building on all sides. Diffuse light shines through the building envelope, particularly when it is dark, thus revealing the internal load-bearing structure.  A classical punctuated facade on the northern side indicates the location of the offices.

The main entrance to the building is situated on its eastern side, which at the ground floor level consists of administrative areas and offices at the northern end, followed on the upper floor by labs, discussion rooms and a break room with a tea kitchen. The largest area of the Energy Lab 2.0 is taken up by the central section, namely a completely column-free test hall. An open gallery on its southern side provides an overview of the hall and rounds off the research building’s room programme.

Indoors the new building’s load-supporting structure has the character of a design element. All trusses and supports have been left exposed, and are complemented with steel profiles. Daylight is able to reach the furthest corners of Energy Lab 2.0 through the light-permeable polycarbonate panels. Built-in seating and shelf systems strike a homely note and help articulate the interior. Unfinished exposed concrete and glazing round off the modern industrial character perfectly in this flexible structure for intelligent energy systems of the future.

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