Structural Engineer: Staupendahl & Partner GmbH
Building Services Engineer: B-PLAN GmbH & Co. KG
Client: Leibniz-Institute for Tropospheric Research
Text description provided by the architects. The Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research in Leipzig (TROPOS) was founded in 1992 in order to research processes in the troposphere and has established itself with a research profile that is unique worldwide. At the core of the research lies the formation of aerosols and clouds and their influence on climate and human health. As an internationally leading institution for the basic research of aerosols and clouds, TROPOS gathers, analyses and models physical and chemical processes from the molecular and microscale up to long-distance transport in areas of varying contamination. The results of the research work build the foundations for policy recommendations regarding issues of climate and health in politics.
The institute resides in the Science Park in North East Leipzig. TROPOS works here alongside the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research and further institutions of the Leibniz scientific community. Starting from the institute in the old laboratory from DDR times TROPOS has continuously grown through the addition of the administrative building, the cloud laboratory, the aerosol chamber hall as well as the datacentre and logistic centers. The newest member of the TROPOS family is a highly efficient research machine that secures the know-how and high-ranking international position of the institute through conditions that are focused on optimizing the lab work.
At the heart of the new TROPOS laboratory modules is a central double height aerosol chamber hall. The analysis of elementary chemical processes in the atmosphere are transmitted from the specialized surrounding laboratories into complex models. The concept is based on a laboratory module of 3,60 x 7,20 x 3,60m that can be added together according to special requirements to form laboratories of different sizes. The design of the interior follows the corporate identity of the TROPOS Institute by using the colors blue and white. The building can be seen as an image of its functional requirements: a row of laboratories whose modular organization has been transmitted into the construction and design of the architecture.
On the long sides of the building, the facades are composed of standardized, prefabricated sandwich elements (incorporating a load bearing layer, insulation, and cladding). The façade modules of 3,60 x 3,60m reflect the structure of the laboratory units. The smoothly formed surface of the concrete elements is accentuated by a sandblasted border around the window whose profile extends 2cm in front of the remaining façade and a slim white edging made of metal sheeting in the window reveals. The front ends of the building are covered in white metal cladding that is wrapped around the roof like an encompassing bracket.
The building envelope has been made particularly cost-effective through the high use of prefabricated elements, which only require 37% of the total budget for the building and following the maxim that as much of the available resources as possible should be channeled into research work. A striking feature of the TROPOS laboratory modules is the surface of the roof, which is dominated by technical installations that are designed to function as an external laboratory for the implementation of long-term experimental studies and create the appearance of a highly technological research machine.