11-05-2007

Mobile Life Campus. Wolfsburg. Henn Architekten. 2006

Henn Architekten,

Wolfsburg,

University,

Glass, Cement,

Imagine a sheet of paper repeatedly folded to create overlapping parallel planes of different lengths, forming an unexpectedly asymmetrical profile: that's the MobileLifeCampus, an extraordinary work of architecture by Henn Architekten (a German architectural practice with offices in Munich, Berlin and Dresden) and built in Wolfsburg.



Mobile Life Campus. Wolfsburg. Henn Architekten. 2006 Its forms appear to be born out of a natural development process, yet they are extremely controlled and rational.
The complex, part of the Volkswagen AutoUni campus, is intended to be a leading research centre, combining the School of Economics and Business Administration, the School of Science and Technology and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Its three-dimensional, plastic, multi-faceted presence seems to shout out in the arid landscape of concrete, gravel and slender newly planted trees.
White cement surfaces alternating with large panes of glass characterise these angular parallelepipeds, linked to one another as if created with the same template. The Campus has a total of 5 buildings, arranged along five parallel lines, slightly set off from one another and all designed in the same way, with one forked side and one closed-off oblique side.
Forms, colours, dimensions, finishes: the 5 bodies interact with one another, not only because they are arranged almost in a circle but because there are continuous visual cross-references, reflections and perspective effects between them.
The point where the roads between the buildings come together is a square set into the oval-shaped lot including the entire complex, planted with apple and cherry trees. Each building's internal layout includes a large atrium running the full height of the building, and various levels containing classrooms, laboratories and offices. At the top, a clear glass roof lets light in to all levels, improving climatic comfort and underlining the light weight of the large glass structures.
The atrium is a meeting-place for the people who work in the offices and the point from which they go up to various different levels.
Dynamic and orderly, linear and plastic, symmetrical and unexpected: these are the concepts inspiring the project, the very simplicity of which strikes the viewer.

Laura Della Badia

GALLERY


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