Audimax shortlisted for Lower Saxony state award for architecture Award for renovation of the Kooperative Gesamtschule Leeste
On 23 June 2022, the Lower Saxony state award for architecture (Niedersächsischer Staatspreis für Architektur) was presented for the reorganisation and renovation of the Kooperative Gesamtschule Leeste in the municipality of Weyhe in the district of Diepholz. The ceremony took place in the ballroom of Hanover’s Alte Rathaus, where the state prize was presented by Lower Saxony’s Minister of Construction, Olaf Lies. Among the twelve properties shortlisted by the jury was the main lecture hall (Audimax) of Technische Universität Braunschweig, which was renovated between 2019 and 2021 to comply with the requirements for a listed building.
Dietmar Smyrek, Vice-President for Human Resources, Finance and Infrastructure (HVP), is pleased that the first project carried out by TU Braunschweig as the building owner has been shortlisted for the Lower Saxony state award for architecture 2022: “The architects, in close cooperation with our building management, have managed to carry out the renovation of the main lecture hall building and the associated technical interventions and modernisations very carefully. The original character of our largest lecture hall has been preserved after the extensive renovation. At the same time, the building feels new. We are proud to have a showpiece on our central campus for successful modernisation while preserving its listed character, which is used daily by many students and will thus continue to be part of our lively campus in the future.”
For project manager Markus Loschinsky of Krekeler Architekten Generalplaner GmbH, an alumnus of TU Braunschweig, the renovation of the main lecture hall was a very special project: “In the course of the planning and execution, I got to know and appreciate the building from a completely different perspective than I remembered it as a student. We were able to preserve the pioneering architectural language and ultra-modern construction of more than 60 years ago and carefully improve it to ensure that the Audimax can be used in the future as well. I am all the more pleased that we have been shortlisted for the Lower Saxony state award for architecture and that our work has thus been recognised.”
On 10 May, the twelve-member jury met for the first time in Hanover and evaluated the total of 56 applications submitted on the topic of “Öffentliches (Um-)Bauen – auf dem Weg zur Klimaneutralität” (Public (Re)Construction – on the Way to Climate Neutrality). Chaired by Munich architect Muck Petzet, the jury agreed on twelve properties for the shortlist. In a next step, these were visited on site in a field trip to then determine nominations and finally select the winning project.
New splendour for the Auditorium Maximum
The auditorium building was closed for two years. From February 2019 to January 2021, TU Braunschweig’s main lecture hall (Audimax) was carefully renovated in keeping with its status as a listed building and adapted to today’s requirements in terms of energy and fire protection. The quality of the students’ stay was also improved. The focus of the renovation was on preserving the historical building fabric as much as possible and maintaining the architectural concept while taking into account the functionality of a lecture hall building. The renovation costs of 10 million euros were financed from state and federal funds.
The Audimax is home to the two largest lecture halls at Carolo-Wilhelmina and is one of the leading buildings of German university architecture after 1945. The building, which was completed in 1960, is part of the Forum Ensemble built by the architect and university teacher Prof. Friedrich Wilhelm Kraemer. The ensemble also includes the Forum building and the university library. All the buildings represent the Braunschweig School, the architectural doctrine of the then Technische Hochschule Braunschweig in the decades after the war. After the refurbishment, the composition of the building is more apparent again, like the cube of the Audimax lecture hall that was built into the building.
The Niedersächsische Staatspreis für Architektur
The Lower Saxony Ministry for the Environment, Energy, Building and Climate Protection has awarded the Staatspreis für Architektur (State Award for Architecture) every two years since 1996. Since 2002 it has been awarded in cooperation with the Architektenkammer Niedersachsen. The award recognises outstanding achievements in the field of architecture. The state’s highest architectural award provides a thematically focused, outstanding overview of current building activity in the state. The competition results and thus the participating projects are presented in Lower Saxony and beyond with a comprehensive public relations campaign, including an internet presentation and a travelling exhibition of the award-winning works.
From the shortlist of twelve projects, three other projects were nominated for the State Award in addition to the award winner “Neuordnung und Sanierung Kooperative Gesamtschule Leeste, Weyhe” (Reorganisation and Redevelopment of the Kooperative Gesamtschule Leeste, Weyhe): the “Nachhaltige Sanierung im Bildungs- und Begegnungszentrum” (Sustainable Redevelopment in the Education and Meeting Centre) in Liebenau, the “Dokumentations- und Lernort Bückeberg” (Bückeberg Documentation and Learning Site) in Emmerthal and the “Stadtteilzentrum Hannover-Stöcken” (Hannover-Stöcken District Centre).