Grimshaw wins competition to design the master plan for the Muesmatt campus of the University of Bern
Grimshaw Architects, Archipel Generalplanung AG and Landscape Architects LAND have won the competition to design the master plan for the Muesmatt campus of the University of Bern in Switzerland. The winning design was selected from a shortlist of 26 participants and was praised for how it opens up the Bern district and re-establishes urban and visual connections.
The master plan introduces new facilities to support the university program and enhances the location as a newly defined public space. Located near Bern’s old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the new buildings create an environment that respects and pays tribute to the city’s existing listed buildings, some of which date from the late 19th and mid-20th centuries.
In the east a new quarter is being developed in front of the Art Nouveau Paulskirche, in the south a series of lower structures with courtyards and green spaces. Refurbishment work in the area includes the demolition, reconstruction and adaptation of existing buildings to create a multidisciplinary “science cluster” for the campus. The proportions, dimensions and positioning of the buildings are an integral part of the design concept, as they respond to the typography of the context and create a continuous transition from the edge of the campus to the central square without neglecting the bell tower of the Paulskirche.
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In terms of landscape, a green axis in Gertrud-Woker-Straße will be redesigned into a pedestrian zone, which will become the “backbone” of the master plan and will connect it with the six-story new natural science building. The entire master plan is surrounded by a “green belt” and represents the native alpine flora of the country in a new way in order to improve the biodiversity of the campus and to offer recreation and relaxation rooms for students, researchers and residents.
The first construction phase comprises the large natural science building, the remaining new buildings the second. The latter aim to further define the green axis of the area and to create a framework for a car-free network of paths that simplifies the connection to neighboring university buildings.