UNStudio's recently completed Center for Virtual Engineering looks like it was made from putty. Located at the Fraunhofer institute in Stuttgart Vaihingen, the undulating complex consists of a curvilinear low-rise structure anchored to the site by a gently protruding multistory corner volume. The soft-bellied ensemble seems perfectly inserted into the equally sinuous, wave-like greenscape surrounding the main building, as if they were sculpted out of clay.
The malleable curves are offset by bands of saw-toothed color-framed windows that wrap around the larger laboratory volume. Inside a large atrium is bisected by sculptural criss-crossing staircases, color-coded according to which programmatic level they lead.
No sooner after the center had been opened was it awarded a Gold certification by the German Sustainable Building Council (DNGB). At the opening ceremony, the council praised the architects for their holistic approach to sustainable design, citing the building's innovative and energy efficient form--only 32% of the facade is glass , helping to retain heat, while the beveled shape saves on material--and its integration of recyclable and low maintenance construction materials.