Expansion of the Mönchengladbach university campus in team with Atelier Kempe Thill

Atelier Kempe Thill, in collaboration with Thörner Kaczmarek architects from Düsseldorf, has designed two new research buildings on the campus of Hochschule Niederrhein in Mönchengladbach, Germany. The design is closely linked to the existing buildings on campus, which are characterized by monumental buildings from the former textile industry. A new green heart designed by BBZ Landschaftsarchitekten connects the different buildings.

Industrial brick architecture from the early 20se century characterizes the Mönchengladbach campus of the Hochschule Niederrhein. According to the architects, the buildings possess a simultaneously refined and robust materiality that expresses the pride of the former textile industry. The buildings are still clearly part of the urban landscape, as visible industrial heritage.

The assignment concerns the design of a new central area and two research buildings for the campus. In this, the architects see opportunities to partly strengthen the existing ensemble of buildings and partly to improve the campus’s visibility and spatial effect. The two new homes will be realized through new construction and transformation.

The architectural firm designed the new construction and renovation of the existing building with high-quality brick facades. The design matches the existing buildings and the industrial character of the campus as far as possible, both in scale and in material quality. At the same time, it is modest, so that the new construction does not visually compete with the valuable historic buildings.

Green and quiet centre
The architects’ proposal gives the campus a spatial center in the form of a car-free, quiet and green area in the middle of the settlement. The landscape subtly bridges the existing height differences and connects the different university buildings through a network of paths. In this way, it also improves the interaction between the different users.

This open central space with lawns and scattered trees forms a peaceful oasis that invites visitors to stay and actively use. The new building and the converted industrial hall are both deliberately oriented towards this central area and accessed via the heart of the campus.

Facades with recycled bricks
The finish of the new building closely matches the profile of Rheydterstrasse. In appearance, it navigates between part of a closed building block and an independent robust industrial object that matches the character of the other buildings on campus. The property opens onto the street with large windows on the ground floor and gives passers-by the opportunity to see the research activities inside.

In order to meet the client’s ambitious sustainability goals, the new building will be constructed of wood wherever possible. The facades are built from locally produced bricks from recycled materials. The targeted energy performance corresponds to the Beg 40 standard, a high standard according to the Bundesförderung für effiente Gebäude.

industrial hall
The transformation of the existing hall aims to preserve the impressive industrial monument, while strengthening its functional and energetic aspects. The design with a clear zoning enhances the experience of the existing hall with its distinctive sawtooth roofs.

With this, Atelier Kempe Thill and Thörner Kaczmarek architects also want to create an inspiring environment for education and research. On the north side, the building gets a new facade with large window sections that open onto the green campus center, which was designed by the Berlin office BBZ Landschaftsarchitekten.

The design task is a result of winning a private tender in 2020. Construction will start in 2024 and the completion of the project is planned for 2028.

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