Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Daimler-Benz Research Center

Ulm, Germany

1989 - 1992

These laboratory/research facilities for Daimler-Benz in Ulm are the partial realization of a master plan for a larger research campus. The campus is organized as a repetitive grid of L-shaped office/laboratory units on either side of a central greensward. Within this space is a semipublic building housing a cafeteria/ restaurant on the ground floor and meeting rooms and a library on the second floor. This building serves as the sociocultural core of the complex. At present, this somewhat Jeffersonian plan is flanked by three new office laboratory units to the west and by a preexisting brick-faced research complex to the east.

The L-shaped office/lab module establishes a basic rhythm that may be varied slightly to accommodate atypical local conditions. In general, the offices occupy the external perimeter of the L-shaped module, while the laboratories line the interior and overlook the inner grass-covered court.

The two research modules built in the first phase share a large, open basement workshop for the fabrication of oversized components. This space is lit by skylights in the turf-covered roofs that span the factory/ laboratory space below. A depressed ring road serves this lower industrial level, thus preserving unobstructed views from the laboratories over the city of Ulm to the south and southeast and over the open country to the north and northwest. While security clearance is required throughout, all circulation is primarily pedestrian, with employees and visitors entering the compound via a central parking area to the north of the present phase. A single internal access road bounds the southeastern edge of the greensward.

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