It is the dedicated goal of Balgrist Campus AG to create an innovation hub for musculoskeletal research of international importance in the Lengg Campus in Zurich. The site, which is in close proximity to the Balgrist University Hospital, was chosen for this very reason. The brief asked for a research environment offering office workplaces, wetlabs and drylabs with shared facilities for six professors, industry, patients and students with a clear focus on interdisciplinary research.
The project is based on two key ideas: The cores - usually blocking the centre of lab-buildings - are moved to the ends and the floor slabs are interconnected in a split level arrangement. Therefore, the centre of the building is open and transparent, horizontally and vertically, the staggered floor plates nestling into the natural slope of the site. Secondly, the programme is organised according to activities, not personal territory: wet labs on the lower levels, office workplaces in an open environment on the centre levels and dry labs on the top levels. Professors and students of all disciplines work desk-by-desk in the open office and move through the building according to their current needs and activities.
The concept was developed in intensive discussions with clients and users on the typology of research buildings, their impact on human behaviour and potential innovation. As a result a number of paradigms in lab-design were discarded in favour of a work environment that fosters informal meetings, mutual visibility, the sharing of infrastructure and ideas and interdisciplinary cooperation.
Using geothermal probes and thermally activated concrete for climate control, the building conforms to the requirements of the Swiss "Minergie Standard", which is very ambitious for a laboratory building. (The "Minergie" label is a low energy consumption award, created for housing and office-buildings).
The official opening is scheduled for 4 December 2015.