A new laboratory and research building for pathology, human genetics, and microbiology is being constructed at Oberer Schnarrenberg in an attractive hillside setting. The new building represents an important component in the master plan of the Tübingen University Hospital (UKT), aimed at bringing together various institutes that are currently at different locations and constructing a preclinical center. In addition to housing the areas for molecular diagnostics and new DNA sequencing technologies (Next Generation Sequencing NGS) as well as a central biological database, it will also incorporate the neuropathology research groups. The new building will be constructed at the western edge of the development area on the UKT hill between the institutes for microbiology and virology to the north, the Institute for Clinical Anatomy (Anatomie 1) to the west, and the temporary teaching center and future new anatomy building (Anatomie 2) to the southwest.
The site’s attractive topography on the side of a hill offers views of Tübingen’s historical city center—a defining factor in the design of the new building. The office and meeting areas are arranged so that they look out over the city, while the laboratories face the hillside. A mix of individual offices and open-plan spaces combine with the meeting units to create a communication zone with its own distinctive character in which cooperative synergies can be fostered. This type of organization ensures the optimal interplay of all the different functions and promotes interdisciplinary, communicative exchange among the various departments.
A generous set of landscaped stairs leads from Elfriede-Aulhorn-Strasse up to the entryway and, together with the building for microbiology and virology, presents a common entrance area complete with forecourt. The welcoming foyer with its open design receives employees and visitors alike and is conceived as a flowing spatial structure. Located here are the autopsy auditorium and multifunctional microscopy lecture hall, which can be divided into three separate halls by means of acoustic partition walls. The rear area of the ground floor houses the autopsy department, which is separated from the student areas on the hillside and offers direct access to the auditorium. Deliveries come in by the southern access road, while the grieving area located at the building’s northern side can be accessed from the forecourt via a separate entrance.
The upper floors are connected with one another by means of a stairway suffused with natural light. A skybridge on the second floor and a basement-level corridor connect the new building to the existing institutes for microbiology and virology. The laboratory areas, which have their own vertical installation shafts, stairways, and elevators built into each floor, face the Institute for Clinical Anatomy to the west, while the more freely designed “office landscape” looks out toward the east and enjoys unhindered views of the valley and city. Here, open spaces are interspaced among the transparent office units correlating directly with the facade concept and equipped with windows that can be opened. A glass partitioning system contributes to an expansive, open appearance, while simultaneously allowing daylight to reach deep into the building. The fifth floor is reserved for offices and a lounge area for employees offering wonderful views of Tübingen’s city center.
Modern, highly efficient glass elements with a mullion-and-transom facade and opaque infill panels in the laboratory and office areas determine the building’s appearance on the horizontal plane. They ensure that glass makes up a maximum of fifty percent of the facade. The sole vertical element is the open stairway on the northeastern side of the building. Openable windows and slanted slatting articulate the facade, enabling it to respond to the seasons and allowing fresh air to enter the building year-round. Anti-glare protection applied to the glass elements reduces the influx of incident light. The infill areas facing the southwest and southeast include photovoltaic (PV) modules integrated into the cladding to take advantage of solar energy.