Successful competition entry for “Erlangen Centre for Astroparticle Physics Laboratory“

The Erlangen Centre for Astroparticle Physics (ECAP) was founded at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) in 2007; it currently consists of three chairs for experimental astroparticle physics, the Astronomical Institute located in Bamberg, two Chairs of Theoretical Physics, and a new Chair for Theoretical Cosmology.


In order to secure and strengthen the exceptional position of ECAP for the future, the State of Bavaria is going to build a new research center, the ECAP Laboratory, which will be erected in the southern grounds of FAU and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. Research and development activities of all user groups involved are to be concentrated in the building, in order to boost collaboration and create synergies. The ECAP Laboratory will be a resilient and sustainable technical building with representative elements; it is going to be both the prelude and a landmark at the north-eastern edge of the campus.


In order to give the appropriate answer to this marked situation in the city, our design proposes a singular, representative and densely organized, three-story building with an inner courtyard. It will define a square-like, generously dimensioned open space, both during the first phase of the development and also after completion, by sitting like a windmill vane in relation to its neighbors: The Physikum, the car park and the future, northern building lot. This design approach explores the basic idea of the planning framework, to offer “clearings” within the campus helping to improve orientation and its public character. While access to the new building will be from the south during the first phase, it will later be moved to the square in the west, from which the building will be entered across a quiet inner court.