Aachen Auditorium

Architects:
Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Aarhus/Denmark

Planning time:
2009 – 2010

Construction time:
2011 – 2016

Services rendered by Werner Sobek:
General planning (HOAI 1-3)
Structural planning (HOAI 1-6, 8)
Facade planning (UBF 1-8)
Building technology (HOAI 1-3)
Sustainability concept, building technology concept, pre-assessment in accordance with the DGNB (competition phase)
Thermal building physics (HOAI 1-8)

Client:
Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb Nordhrein Westfalen (BLB NRW), Aachen/Germany

Photographer:
Margot Gottschling, Overath/Germany

Designed by Schmidt/Hammer/Lassen, a team of Danish architects, this project consists of two separate buildings united by a glazed atrium. The central concept of the design lies in its contrast between the internally orientated lecture halls and the open-plan, informal meeting spaces that connect them. These latter areas include a range of terraces and plazas of various sizes that can be used for social activities. The addition of large-span steel-composite structures allows the atrium to remain devoid of any visible supports.

The northern section of the building contains two auditoriums with a capacity of 800 and 1,000 spectators, respectively. Storey-high steel trusses floating over these lecture halls provide space for 16 seminar rooms. The southern section of the building is characterised by an extreme cellular frame construction in which a large number of the auditorium walls function as partition-like beams that span distances of up to 25 metres. Parts of the lecture theatres project out from the building with a free overhang of up to 10 metres, adding to the structure’s spectacular spatial effect. This style of construction was chosen both for aesthetic reasons and due to the project’s requirement for numerous lecture halls in a wide range of sizes. The 10 auditoriums in this part of the building have capacities ranging from 80 to 480 spectators.

The sustainability concept devised for the project by Werner Sobek focussed on providing the development with high levels of user comfort and a suitable array of building services equipment. Furthermore, it aimed to reduce the building’s energy needs by taking the conditions of the local climate and environment into consideration. This resulted in such measures as retaining a compact structural cubage to minimise transmission heat loss while also establishing strategies to protect against overheating.