5. Juni 2023
IMBIT stands for "Institute for Machine-Brain Interfacing Technology". Scientists from the fields of neurology, computer science, robotics and medicine work here with the aim of enabling interaction between the human brain and technical instruments. This is done by using robotic assistance systems, for example, that can be activated and operated by means of neural implants. This enables people with physical restrictions to regain some of their mobility and quality of life. Such a complex research landscape demands an architecture that creates room for potential. In line with this concept, the aesthetically restrained room acoustics and lighting solutions from Nimbus and Rosso create a quiet, bright atmosphere.
On the campus of the University of Freiburg's Technical Faculty in the north of the city, the IMBIT is the first building to be constructed in an expansion project that will see several institute buildings added to the faculty. The heinlewischer firm of architects from Stuttgart has designed a compact, clearly structured cube that meets the various requirements of the interdisciplinary research landscape spread across the three floors of the building. Constructed in a simple ring-shape, the building keeps distances short and surrounds a grassy courtyard.
The easy wayfinding concept focuses on open areas and interconnectivity between the individual departments to facilitate communication between researchers: versatile spatial concepts allow the unrestricted arrangement of laboratory, office, special purpose and communication zones across over 3,000 square metres. These zones can be readjusted or re-equipped to suit changing needs. Selected materials such as silver grey stained oak, glass and exposed concrete set the tone of the interior. The interplay between rough and smooth surfaces references the heterogeneous space allocation plan.This is also displayed in the design of the facade. As the architects explain: "The alternating bands that open up or close across the various floors of the building reflect the function of the rooms." The structure of the light grey metal facade gives it a 3D feeling, which is reinforced by the alternating closed and transparent surfaces.
The two-storey, glazed main entrance is marked by a recess in the facade and forms the transition area to the large, open foyer. White, round, suspended elements in varying diameters structure the purist ceiling made of exposed concrete. Explaining the reason for their choice of products, the architects stated: "Combining different sizes from the Nimbus Modul R Project range with Rossoacoustic PADs enabled us to create a space with a quiet and appealing character while also meeting requirements in terms of building physics." They also wanted "large luminaires that feature a high-quality design and ensure good illumination of the surfaces".Nimbus luminaires also provide uniform lighting above the sculptural stairway, which ascends from the foyer to link the three floors of the building with one another. Combined with Rossoacoustic PADs, they reduce irritating noises and reverberation to achieve noticeably improved acoustics in the high rooms. The round, slim Nimbus luminaires and their sound-absorbing counterparts from Rosso hover almost weightlessly in the air and harmonise with the building's pared-back materiality and aesthetics. The soft fleece covering of the Rossoacoustic PADs adds a further component to the range of materials used to achieve variety in surface qualities – thus underlining the aspect of heterogeneity, the feature linking the architectural concept and the building's diverse community of users.
Client: Landesbetrieb Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg, Universitätsbauamt Freiburg
Architecture: heinlewischer, Stuttgart
Lighting design: Schindler Consult Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH, Stuttgart
Specialist partner: Electrical contractor: WISAG Elektrotechnik Süd-West GmbH&Co.KG, Gundelfingen
Project realised: 2021
Photos: Brigida González, Stuttgart
Stuttgart, May 2023
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