Groundbreaking for Photonics Cluster on RWTH Aachen Campus
Over the course of a Europe-wide selelction process, investor ante4C GmbH, a project company with substantial involvement from Landmarken AG, Aachen, and the architecture office KPF - Kohn Pederson Fox Associates, New York - received the acceptance to begin the first phase of construction on the Photonics Cluster on RWTH Aachen Campus, Campus Melaten. The construction work on the building project will begin in June 2014. The complex is located directly next to the Chair of Laser Technology LLT and the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology on the Campus Boulevard. Work is scheduled to be finished near the end of 2015. The investment volume encompasses approximately 13 million Euros.
Today's groundbreaking for the Photonics Cluster was attended by Mayor Marcel Philipp; Professor Malte Brettel, Vice-Rector for Industry and Business Relations of RWTH Aachen University; Professor Günter Schuh, Executive Director of RWTH Aachen Campus GmbH; Professor Reinhart Poprawe, Head of the Photonics Cluster and Fraunhofer Institute of Laser Technology ILT; Ute Willems, Deputy Head of BLB NRW Aachen; and Jens Kreiterling, Executive Director, ante4C Photonics 1 GmbH with Höhler + Partner architecture firm.
Jens Kreiterling, Executive Director at ante4C Photonics 1 GmbH, explains: "It is important to us to design a building that not only corresponds to today's standards but also offers sufficient flexibility for users in the future. We particularly want to document this with the Silver Certificate of the German Sustainable Building Council, DGNB." The design from Kohn Pederson Fox distinguishes itself through the flexible urban planning concept of the entire cluster premises and its characteristic architectural language. The new building unites different uses under one roof. In the 7000 square meter office and laboratory space new processes for generating, molding, and using light as a tool in production are researched and designed. The atrium and gastronomy area with an outdoor terrace offer space for communication and the exchange of knowledge through the shortest official channels.
"Since 1985, we have been researching and developing at RWTH Aachen and at the Fraunhofer ILT for industrial users in laser technology from different branches. The Photonics Cluster and the BMBF Digital Photonic Production Research Campus enable our partners to conduct research with us under one roof and thus recognize trends early on and use the potential for synergy. I am convinced that we will lead the way to the next evolutionary step of technical innovations with our concept of integrated research and development," said Prof. Dr. Reinhart Poprawe, Head of the Photonics Cluster and Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT.
Companies are taking up residence in the Photonics Cluster that wish to work in close collaboration with RWTH Aachen and the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in the research and development of optical technologies. Focus topics are in laser material processing, laser measurement, medical technology, and optical beam sources. Aachen is an internationally renowned location that has been honored many times for laser technology for the production industry.
"We look forward to the further development on Campus Melaten. Aside from the initial buildings in the Logistics and Heavy Duty Drives Clusters, the first building complex for the Photonics Cluster will round out the profile of the Campus Boulevard," says Professor Günter Schuh, Executive Director of RWTH Aachen Campus GmbH.
Pictured from left to right: Ernst Höhler, Karin Höhler, Ute Willems, Prof. Malte Brettel, Prof. Günther Schuh, Prof. Reinhart Poprawe, Jens Kreiterling, Marcel Philipp
The Photonics Cluster, one of six initial clusters on RWTH Aachen Campus, specializes in the research and development of processes for generating, molding, and using light, particularly as a tool for industrial production. No other tool can be dosed and controlled as precisely as light or laser beams. A particular highlight of the Photonics Cluster is the BMBF Digital Photonic Production Research Campus," which is to receive up to 30 million Euros of funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in the next 15 years.
The first building complex for the Photonics Cluster was built directly next to the Chair of Laser Technology LLT and the Fraunhofer Institute of Laser Technology ILT on the Campus Boulevard. In the future, the 7000 square meter office and laboratory space will be used for new processes for generating, molding, and using light as a tool in production are researched and designed. Approximately 120 scientists will conduct research at the complex during the initial phase of the cluster. Additionally, there will be a gastronomy area with an outdoor terrace amounting to about 450 square meters. The Photonics Cluster will be expanded step by step so that a total of 40,000 square meters of research space will result after multiple phases of construction.
The blueprint by ante4C and KPF enables a creative integration of the topic of light into the interior and exterior spaces. The atrium, the heart of the building, brings light into the center of the research building and the facades can be individually shaped with light effects. Simultaneously, the atrium with conference rooms, gastronomy spaces, and bordering exterior terraces generates high quality for one's stay, promoting the interdisciplinary exchange between industry and the university in research and teaching. The urban planning design was convincing with the layout of the buildings on the cluster grounds and its relation to the surrounding landscape. The front facade of the two buildings on the Campus Boulevard are impressive, which combines both complexes to a single unit through a special roof/framework construction. Modular buildings are attached the building on the boulevard around a central space, which create a dynamic rhythm and views in the cluster due to their differing heights. With its extreme flexibility the design can illustrate different usage concepts in additional phases of construction.