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New building for high-tech research

Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics, Halle (Saale)

The Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle (Saale) is being extended. The continuous development of research, new techniques and measurement methods, new scientific findings and the extension, which creates a scientific department, are the reason for the additional new building. This involves the construction of new laboratories and office workspaces. In the future, significant contributions to research will be undertaken there, on the topics of information technology, energy and health.


Max Planck Society, Munich

Period of time

from 2019


Building planning




Research & Education


Berlin, Deutschland

Project specifics

Urban development

The campus of the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics at Weinberg, in the northwest of the city of Halle near Wilde Saale, is part of a large-scale science and research site. The new building, which replaces an existing MPI building, is surrounded by faculties of the Martin Luther University in Halle, institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, and the Leibniz and Helmholtz Associations. With regard to urban planning, the new building unites the area in the northwest and creates a new central public square.

The new extension building at Weinberg is made up of three interlocking structures. Each has a central function: Laboratory, office and clean room. The three cubes are offset from one another and the precisely coordinated, staggered building heights fit in with the location’s topography. Different views emerge due to the small scale of the adjacent urban space.

Two adjacent buildings intertwine in a structural sense. The structure of the office, positioned in the middle, intersects in two areas with the laboratory building to the north, which is higher, and with the clean room to the south. Together, these create an overall volume that fits harmoniously into the campus grounds and the existing topography of the old Weinberg area. The rounded corners of the building soften the cube shape and the edges.

Daria Grouhi, CEO of Burckhardt Berlin

«The interior and exterior spaces come together, in the same way that the three volumes of the new building and the three functions of laboratory, office and clean room intertwine logically: In the future, the front area, foyer and central atrium will jointly provide space for meetings and interdisciplinary exchange.»

Architecture and internal organization

A connected basement forms the base for the building, which faces south. Above the base are three structures that are independently organized in a spatial sense, each adapted to the functions of laboratory, office and clean room, clearly visible in terms of their floors and staggered height.

While both the laboratory building and the clean room are being kept very functional for optimal implementation of the technical requirements, the office area creates the opportunity for meetings and communication, which are highly important for scientific operations.

Entry to the building is via the front area, and you enter the centrally located building through a spacious foyer. The green atrium is adjacent to this. This extends across the entire building and provides light in the core of the office area on all floors. The communal and meeting rooms are located in this open atrium on all levels. Niches to the west and east of the atrium on the ground floor offer all employees and guests the opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange and provide meeting spaces.


A strip façade symbolically ties the three parts of the building together, consisting of horizontal windows lines and horizontally profiled ceramic panels. In the south, the topography allows the basement to be visible and it forms an exposed concrete base.

The apertures of the outer shell very much relate to how the functions are distributed inside and the need for lighting, ventilation and transparency in the rooms. The clean room is closed off to its surroundings due to its very complex climatic requirements. The laboratory is open-plan, with window areas that are necessary as well as useful. This gives an impression of both openness and being closed off, due to the fairly large closed spaces of the integrated technical areas in the façade. It provides a contrast to the office area. It is open to the outside thanks to large window area, and therefore interacts with its surroundings.

The fully glazed entrance on the ground floor highlights the openness to the campus square. The hung ceramic elements are glazed with a green-bluish glossy finish to reflect the light. This enables the covering of the building to create very different lighting moods each day throughout the year. Different perspectives from the campus, as well as the movement of the sun, give the ceramic façade an overall multifaceted appearance. When it is dark, a strip of light in the base area accentuates the horizontal aspect of the building.

Project plans

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