The new Protein Centre at the Martin Luther University in Halle unites 13 workgroups of the biology, biochemistry, pharmacy and medicine study programs under one roof and thus represents a significant volume of the research performed on protein biochemistry.
The structure consists of two building blocks characterized by a geometrical interlacing which establishes a dialogue with the Institute of Biochemistry as well as with the refectory and helps to create a generous forecourt in the main entrance area. It connects to the lobby area, a spacious atrium providing direct access to semi-public facilities such as a seminar room and coffee bar. The central access zone can be reached via a wide stairway and extends across floors 1-3 in the form of a second atrium flooded with light. This in turn generates views across all floors and promotes encounters between members of the various research teams in the adjacent shared tea kitchens, copying and printing rooms. Three strings of laboratory and office rooms have been arranged along each of the two wings. The middle string holds alternative rooms which can serve as office or laboratory spaces if needed and offer the possibility to access them accordingly. This helps to optimally fulfill the specific needs of the various research areas. In addition, the rooms can be adapted to any changes in the workflow.
With its shape, the building shell reflects the symbolic dislocation of the structures while at the same time describing the building program. While the outward-looking laboratory facade is made of aluminum panels with a consistent horizontal perforation to prevent direct sunlight, the interface between the two parts of the building with the office space behind has been conceived as a glass facade with an adjustable screen system. In addition, wide light slots above the central access area and the lobby let daylight penetrate deep into the interior of the building.