Goettingen, DE


Project Management, Architecture, Building Services, Energy Concept


Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V.


20.352 m² GFA | 112.381 m³ BRI

Construction costs

EURO 52.7 million

Project term

June 2010 – January 2014


1st prize (RPW 2010)

The new building of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, located in the immediate vicinity of the buildings of the Faculty of Physics on the University of Göttingen’s northern campus, has created a new home for more than 300 members of staff. At the end of January 2014 – four months before the official inauguration – they were able to move into the building in order to punctually evaluate the data that the Rosetta space probe is now sending back to Earth. The tight schedule, which was specified by the European Space Agency (ESA) for the research project, was kept to the day.

On an area of around 20,000 square meters, a building has now been constructed which is characterized by its versatility. The external appearance and its materiality give a clear impression for the different areas: The two-storey base building contains scientific research areas and common areas such as seminar and conference areas, a library, a cafeteria and the foyer. Offices, guest apartments and a day-care nursery are accommodated in the overlying three-storey glass cuboid, which projects out from the southern side of the building in such a way that it appears to float freely.

MPI Sonnensystemforschung Göttingen

In the scientific area, in addition to electronics workshops and clean rooms, there are numerous laboratories such as, for example, chemical and microwave laboratories, sensitive physical laboratories and laboratories for measuring electromagnetic compatibility. A special feature is created by the 11.5 meter high balloon hall including a crane track, in which larger devices are assembled and tested under clean room conditions.

MPI Sonnensystemforschung Göttingen

The scientists have to develop and utilize highly sensitive equipment which must not be subjected to vibrations. To ensure absolute freedom from vibration for the devices and rooms, laboratories and clean rooms have been vibration isolated.

MPI Sonnensystemforschung Göttingen

Clear connections within the building facilitate interdisciplinary work. The glass façade ensures good daylight quality in the interior areas as well as high transparency. Circular skylights of different sizes in the ceiling of the two-storey foyer create an open and light atmosphere and, at the same time, a reference to the solar system.

MPI Sonnensystemforschung Göttingen

In their new working world, the members of staff from the institute can also find space for relaxation and recreation: A generously laid out roof garden and the planted central courtyard are particularly inviting.