The new 14,000m² facility named C.A.R.L. (Central Auditorium for Research and Learning) offers space for over 4,000 students and comprises 11 lecture halls, 16 seminar rooms, break-out spaces and cafés, as well as housing the University's physics collection, storage spaces, workspaces and a large bicycle parking basement. The two largest lecture halls contain 1,000 and 800 seats within the new building.
Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects design is part of the RWTH Aachen University's major development strategy adding over 280,000 m² of additional space to the campus, which is to form one of the largest research campuses in Europe.
The new educational facility points to a more holistic understanding of learning and science and signals a humanistic approach focusing on the human scale. The C.A.R.L. is centrally located at the meeting point of Campus Mitte and Campus West.
The four storey lecture hall centre is conceived as a singular sculptural object, breaking with the city block structure by pulling back from the adjacent line of buildings and creating a plaza and green urban space surrounding it. The compact building comprises two solid masses united by an airy, transparent atrium cutting through the building in a ziggurat pattern. The large atrium integrates several informal spaces of various sizes to form squares and terraces for social activity and knowledge sharing.
"The central idea is the contrast between the inherently introverted auditoriums and the dynamic and open social circulation zone that connects the auditoriums. The two large stairs and connecting bridges will be the point for everyday 'meet and greet' of fellow students and lecturers," says Founding Partner John Foldbjerg Lassen.