24. November 2023 | Press releases:

Student House: Award for “feather-light” construction BDA Lower Saxony Prize goes to new TU Braunschweig building

Another award for the Student House at Technische Universität Braunschweig: the two architects, Gustav Düsing and Max Hacke, and the university are delighted to have received the Architecture Prize of Lower Saxony from the Bund Deutscher Architekten (BDA). The oldest architecture prize in the state of Lower Saxony is awarded jointly to the client and the architectural practice, regardless of the building category.

At the end of September, the Student House was awarded the German Architecture Prize. This was followed by the Lower Saxony BDA Prize, for which a total of 86 entries were received. On 23 November, six equal prizes were awarded, five works were honoured and a further 16 projects were shortlisted. These included the Audimax at TU Braunschweig. In assessing the projects submitted, the BDA Prize jury placed particular emphasis on the responsible use of natural resources.

Two buildings in the running

                “Our student centre has already won several awards in international competitions. We are very proud of this,” said Angela Ittel, President of TU Braunschweig. “My heartfelt congratulations today go to Gustav Düsing and Max Hacke, who have designed this fantastic place of learning. I am also particularly pleased that our university was in the running for this prestigious architectural prize with two buildings – the Student House and the Audimax”.

Torsten Markgräfe, Head of Department 3 – Facility Management at TU Braunschweig, adds: “The award-winning Student House and the nominated Audimax are the first two projects to be completed by TU Braunschweig after the transfer of building ownership. Their recognised quality is confirmation of the trust placed in TU Braunschweig. At the same time, the award is also a recognition of the performance of my staff, who have made a major contribution to the realisation of the projects, and I am personally very pleased about this”.

The student residence on the central campus was designed by Berlin architects Gustav Düsing and Max Hacke on behalf of the TU Braunschweig. The client is the TU Braunschweig.

Düsing and Hacke worked at the university’s Institute for Design and Spatial Composition. Their design won an internal university competition, launched in 2017, in which academic staff from the TU’s architecture institutes could submit their projects for a new student residence.

“Intrinsic and cheerful atmospheric quality”

With its steel and timber construction in a circular, sustainable design and its open-plan concept, the building offers excellent conditions for 160 student workplaces.

“The TU Braunschweig Student Centre is so light as a feather that you could almost believe it is not in Germany,” said the jury. The streamlined design is not an end in itself, but rather provides internal flexibility and ease of dismantling. The structure, with its slender steel girders that are simply bolted together, can be moved and dismantled with little effort. The pavilion is reminiscent of early post-war modernist buildings. “However, the white steel elements, light wooden ceilings and sun-yellow acoustic curtains give it a unique and cheerful atmosphere. The open structure allows for a variety of uses by students, creating the kind of openness that is desirable in a student centre”.

About the architecture

The two-storey filigree building resembles a pavilion. The Student House features a fully glazed façade that provides excellent daylighting for all areas and seamlessly connects the interior and exterior spaces. The steel-wood hybrid construction allows for easy assembly and disassembly and follows the principle of ‘design for disassembly’. Designed on a 3 x 3 metre square axis, the primary structure of beams and columns is modular and made up of the same 10 x 10 cm square hollow sections. The wooden ribbed slabs, which are inserted into the support frames, are only bolted at certain points; the façade is not glued and can also be dismantled. This means that not only can building materials be reused, but entire components can be reused in the sense of ‘circular construction’.

The energy concept is based on district heating, 80 per cent of which is renewable, combined with geothermal probes for summer cooling. A three metre deep pergola with a canopy and balconies, as well as the surrounding trees, shade the façade in summer. The building is ventilated through bottom-hung windows and a central skylight dome. All workstations are equipped with power sockets. Sockets and lighting on the upper floor, as well as cable management, are integrated into the columns and beams. Sound-absorbing curtains, carpets and acoustic ceilings provide pleasant acoustics so that people can discuss in groups and concentrate on learning at other workstations.

About the Lower Saxony BDA Award

The Lower Saxony BDA Prize has been awarded since 1976 and is presented every four years. The award is aimed at clients and architects and recognises their joint work as an exemplary architectural achievement. The winners are nominated for the national award, the Grand Nike. Buildings entered for the Architecture Award must be completed at the time of the judging and no more than five years old. They must also be located in Lower Saxony.