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wörner traxler richter

Fraunhofer Institut Saarbrücken

Project data
Client: Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.
Competition: 1st place  Negotiated procedure 2007
Services: Service rendering phases 2-8
Gross construction cost: 5.95 m €
Completion: 2010
Usable Floor Area: 1,590 m²
GFA: 2,880 m²

The Institute for Non-Destructive Testing is engaged in research and development covering the physical principles of non-destructive testing and material characterisation. The developed testing methods are applied in different industrial branches. The applications are increasingly used by clients from the automotive sector, and so the new exterior of the institute, adapted to the contents of research, is particularly aimed at this target group.

Architectural Concept
The image of the institute will be impressively changed by a new component ensemble. Apart from a big testing hall, three office storeys and a generously designed new entrance area will be constructed.
The testing hall, which partially comprises two storeys, houses the actual, practical functional areas for material testing – the technical centre and laboratory spaces for conducting specific testing tasks. Both hall levels can be accessed from the foyer. The main access to the testing hall is located at the back side, at the delivery yard, where the testing objects are brought in.
The office storeys with appr. 45 working places are used by the research staff. This area will also be given a distinctive form: Nex to the offices, which are located in triangular-shaped, rounded levels, there will be cylindrical room clusters with adjoining rooms and the central utility service shaft.
Visitors, employees and clients of the institute will be received in a new, image-building entrance area. Directly attached to the foyer is an egg-shaped conference room, which will be used for conferences and seminars. Because of its prominent location, it will boost the institute’s representation and transparency.
In a later construction stage, a new, distinctive access axis will be leading from the foyer to the individual, already existing functional section of the building. It is intended to visualize the principle of “non-destructive testing“, namely trans-illumination, in the main building by a special lighting concept.

The exterior of the new buildings is characterised by round shapes borrowed from the sector of mechanical engineering  – it closely resembles the pistons of a Wankel engine, reminds of gear wheels or belt drives.
The components for the skin of the building are borrowed from the automotive sector: Glass, high-gloss finished steel plates and plastics. So-called light construction elements, extremely light-weight plates made of polycarbonate, are used for the façade of the testing hall and for solar protection of the office storeys. Besides their low weight, they also provide a convenient heat transition coefficient and can be manufactured at different levels of light transmission from “crystalline” to “opaque”.
The horizontal joints, staggered to the background, provide a contrasting effect of the structures and underline the dynamic impression of the building.