Central Auditorium for Research and Learning (C.A.R.L.)

Aachen/ Germany

Size/  14,000 
Competition/ 2009, 1st prize in invited international competition
Status/ Completed 2016/2017
Client/ Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH Aachen University)/ Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb NRW Aachen
Local architect/ Höhler+Partner Architekten
Engineer/ Werner Sobek Stuttgart GmbH/ Klett Ingenieur GmbH
Other consultantsKempen Krause Ingenieurgesellschaft/ Müller-BBM/ Gade Mortensen Akustik A/S/ Erben GmbH/ 3+ Freiraumplaner
Photo/ Margot Gottschling/ Michael Rasche

C.A.R.L. (Central Auditorium for Research and Learning) in Germany is one of the largest and most modern lecture hall centres in Europe. The new 14,000 m² facility, located at the campus of RWTH Aachen University, offers space for over 4,000 students and comprises 11 lecture halls, 16 seminar rooms, a break room with a café, as well as space for the physics collection, storage, and workspaces. The two largest lecture halls contain 1,000 and 800 seats in the new building, located at the meeting point of Central Campus and Campus West.

Our design proposal from 2009 is part of the RWTH Aachen University’s major development strategy adding 280,000 m² of additional space to the campus, which is to form one of the largest research campuses in Europe.

The central idea is the contrast between the inherently introverted auditoriums and the dynamic and open social and circulation zone that connects the auditoriums.

The compact building comprises two blocks united by an airy, transparent glass atrium cutting through the building in a ziggurat pattern.

The new educational facility points to a more holistic understanding of learning and science and signals a humanistic approach focusing on the human scale.

The building integrates several informal spaces of various sizes to form squares and terraces for social activity and knowledge sharing.

The largest lecture halls are located at the meeting point of Central Campus and Campus West, containing up to 1,000 and 800 seats.

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