As knowledge hubs, universities are constantly evolving and exploring ways of developing their teaching, learning and research – and growing and improving their facilities alongside.
Host to Germany’s oldest university, the city of Heidelberg faces an increasingly common challenge for today’s densifying cities: how to plan for future campus growth when land availability is scarce? To develop the area as a sustainable, future-proof science district integrated within the city, a range of stakeholders including the city and the university, several ministries as well as residents, have come together to champion a collaborative masterplan.
As part of the three-stage process, four international teams were commissioned to develop alternative campus concepts for the next 30 to 50 years. Arup is working together with C.F. Møller and Henn Architects in one of the four bidding teams, wherein Arup’s focus lies on sustainability, infrastructure and mobility strategies.The process is expected to be finished by the end of 2019, after which the client is looking to commission one or two teams to continue the process.
15,000 employees in 2015
14,000students in 2015
800,000m²additional gross floor area required on-site
Heidelberg University is spread across three campus locations in the city. In contrast to the historic university buildings of the old town, the Im Neuenheimer Feld campus was built on a former agricultural site on the other side of the Neckar in the 1950s, and has fast become an internationally renowned science and research location.
One of the key drivers for the masterplan is to strengthen the attractiveness of the campus as a leading location for state-of-the-art medicine, as well as strengthening its position as a leader in the field of educational and research excellence and in the life sciences and natural sciences fields.
Integration into the urban environment
The overarching theme for the campus development is the urban integration of the campus within the densifying city. In practice, this will mean working towards integrating previously separate areas, the removal of physical and perceived barriers and the integration of future uses and users.
Our strategy for the campus is based on three pillars: ‘liveability’ – the provision of excellent living conditions, adaptability and sustainability. As fundamental values and goals, these support the further development of the Im Neuenheimer Feld campus as a place for knowledge, encounter and exchange.
The ‘liveable’ campus
The university and hospital have historically been a key part of Heidelberg’s life and development and its future development is critical to achieve a coherent university city. While the Im Neuenheimer Feld campus is currently only a peripheral part of the city’s urban fabric, our proposal envisions the creation of a ‘liveable’ campus as an active neighbourhood within the city. This includes an improved provision of apartments, retail facilities and restaurants, together with the expansion of public educational, cultural and leisure facilities. On the mobility front, the connection to the city’s existing public transport network will be improved, paired with the creation of a new mobility core, mostly focused on active transport. Motorised individual transport will be re-routed outside the campus and local public transport will be prioritised.
The adaptable campus
Building planning is being transformed by the growing demand for space that caters to a greater variety of users and uses, including new ways of working and adapting to advanced scientific equipment and technologies. The aim is to create a highly flexible and adaptable campus that can respond to future, often unpredictable, needs. Greater planning and use flexibility, along with the densification of the campus area, will allow the existing premises to expand. As an example, the energy concept sets out a phased, scalable strategy to transition the whole campus to a climate-neutral renewable energy network. While new buildings will be directly connected to the new energy grid and equipped with renewable energy generation equipment where possible and required, existing buildings will be successively upgraded and gradually integrated into the new grid.
The core of our sustainability strategy is the concept of a resource metabolism on site. Energy, water, waste, food and mobility infrastructure are considered as highly interconnected cycles. As such, the synergies between infrastructures are harnessed to increase efficiencies. ”Francesca Galeazzi Associate Director
The sustainable campus
The sustainability strategy for the Im Neuenheimer Feld campus is closely aligned with the global sustainability agenda and Heidelberg’s sustainability masterplan “100% climate protection”. This includes reducing direct and indirect CO₂ emissions, as well as the development of a campus ‘metabolism’. Here, all material cycles are considered to be way – showcasing the campus technologies and inviting users and visitors interlinked systems in order to deliver efficiencies and greater synergies between the sites’ various infrastructures. The energy centres will be designed in an open, accessible and experience-orientated to experience, engage and interact.
Decarbonising our cities
The development of sustainable urban districts, such as the Im Neuenheimer Feld Campus, is inevitably linked to the question of how we can make them climate-neutral. We spoke with Rudi Scheuermann, Arup Fellow and German Business Leader Cities at Arup Germany.