11 April 2011

New organic building to house Plant Science Centre


Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitetker A/S has been selected as the winner of the project competition for the design of the facility that will house the Copenhagen Plant Science Centre at the Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE). The centre, due to open its doors in 2015, will be located at the University of Copenhagen’s Frederiksberg campus.

First stage of projectThe aim of the Copenhagen Plant Science Centre is to conduct research that can unlock the immeasurable potential of plants to contribute to new developments in areas such as renewable energy, food and medicine. The centre will serve as a home for plant biotech research and teaching, and will strengthen the pipeline from basic research to industrial application of plant and biotech research.

“The Copenhagen Plant Science Centre will be one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the world, and it will attract some of the brightest researchers and students. At the same time, there will be rich opportunities for close collaboration between private sector research and the University, which is one of the paths the nation must pursue in order to create growth,” says Charlotte Sahl-Madsen, the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation.

Design inspired by plant and cellular structures

The competition to submit designs for the Copenhagen Plant Science Centre was coordinated by the Danish University and Property Agency together with the University of Copenhagen.Illustration from winning projectThe competition called for design proposals for the first stage of the Copenhagen Plant Science Centre, which includes 6,825 m2 of laboratory and teaching space, as well as a master plan for the subsequent planned, but as yet unfunded, stages of the facility, which when completed will cover 25,000 m2. The first stage of the project will be completed by 2015. The winning submission from Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitetker A/S takes its inspiration from plant and cellular structures.

"The submission is a simple, attractive solution to the complex task it is to build a plant research centre. The facility adapts itself to its surroundings by taking on the form of a paraphrased cellular division from the angular structure of the existing building. The cells, the buildings of each of the four stages, can accommodate buds without their overall appearance being spoiled. There is a logical connection between function, form, place, current conditions, sustainability and financing,” the jury writes in its description of the winning design.

Illustration of the loungeIn addition to representatives from the Danish University and Property Agency and the University of Copenhagen, the jury included representatives from the City of Frederiskberg and three professionals.

Collaborating with Lundegaard & Tranberg Arkitekter A/S on the design are Jacobs Engineering Group, Kirstine Jensens Tegnestue ApS and Emendo. More information about the winning submission, the jury’s decision and the six other submissions as well as the jury’s members, can be found on the website of the Danish University and Property Agency (in Danish).

Strategic focus on plant research

The Board of Directors of the University of Copenhagen decided in 2010, based on the recommendation of the Rector and Prorector, to consolidate all of the University’s plant research at a new Copenhagen Plant Science Centre under the auspices of the Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE).

“Plant research has enormous room for growth, and the University of Copenhagen is already one of the leaders in the area. The decision to consolidate plant research stems from an analysis in which plant researchers themselves said there were clear gains to be made by expanding collaboration opportunities to include non-traditional fields,” says Rector Ralf Hemmingsen.