Erick van Egeraat’s design for the new building for the University of Leipzig, Germany, officially celebrated its topping-out ceremony on October 21st.
The project is situated on the site of the former Pauliner Church, the only church to remain undamaged during the war, yet later demolished in 1968 during the former GDR regime. This fourth building section of the University redevelopment comprises a gross volume of 133.000 cubic meters and consists of three main elements: the Aula, the Main Building, and the Audimax.
The Aula with Vestry, a contemporary interpretation of the former University Church, is a multifunctional space with 930 square meters of gross floor area. The new building - like the original church - will be used for church services as well as for academic ceremonies, concerts and scientific conferences. The upper floors above the Aula house 8.650 square meters of institutional space. The Main Building hosts the University’s representative areas, art collection, institute facilities and administrative functions within 13.600 square meters. The 730 square meter Audimax has capacity for 790 students.
The building ensemble enables the reintegration of the University Campus into Leipzig’s city fabric. The University will represent itself with a new and strong appearance at Leipzig’s heart, the Augustusplatz, whilst respecting the existing city structure and making reference to the history of the site. “My architectural concept for Leipzig offers not only reference to the past, but opens up a vision for the future as well,“ says Erick van Egeraat.
The main feature of the development will be the interior of the Aula; with a palette of materials including white stucco, glass and ceramic ornamentation it will have a bright and distinguished expression. “I am convinced that this space will end any discussion about the pros and cons of the reconstruction of the church and that people in Leipzig can be happy again with the memory of the Pauliner Church,“ affirms Erick van Egeraat.
In 2004 Erick van Egeraat’s design was awarded first prize in an international architects’ competition. Construction work started in the summer of 2007. The Aula and Vestry will be presented to the public for the first time at the end of 2009, on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of Germany’s second oldest university.