Project SheetTracing Bacteria

Centre for Structural Systems Biology CSSB, Hamburg

The new Centre for Structural Systems Biology on the Hamburg-Bahrenfeld research campus provides laboratories with highly advanced technical facilities, for example for cryo S3 (safety level 3) microscopy, on 13,000 m². Furthermore, the Centre provides offices, conference rooms and a 180-seat auditorium.

The new building for the CSSB was developed with the intent of promoting basic research, interdisciplinary collaboration, innovation and mentoring young professionals. It fulfils all prerequisites for an interdisciplinary research. About 180 biologists, chemists, medical experts, and physicists from nine research facilities work hand in hand here. The CSSB offers the latest technologies for an efficient research on infections and resistances to scientists coming from around the world. The CSSB has become a place where they can enjoy multi and interdisciplinary research. Various institutions, independent research bodies, clinics, and universities from several German federal states as well as from abroad are among the users.

» The bright foyer with its sculptural spiral staircase is not only designed for circulation and orientation but is intended to be used as a communicative meeting point for the scientists. «
Markus Hammes, Architect

An inner courtyard takes the visitor to the main entrance which leads directly into the central hall. This four storey high space, with sloped glass façade, and the inner courtyard constitute the heart of the new building. This light-flooded foyer is the communicative hub of the four-level research institute, stimulating interdisciplinary exchange aside from the main hallways, by providing a pleasant, bright atmosphere for holding informal discussions and swapping ideas. Diverse visual and communication possibilities across voids, stairs and levels provide a means for conversations among institute members, guests, and visitors.

  • Successful research thrives on communication and interaction. Highly equipped laboratory environments with S2 and S3 security labs are grouped around the spacious inner courtyard and can be looked into from there and from the lobby. The institutes’ conference rooms, lounge areas and tea kitchens are located between the lab clusters. Tightly interwoven spaces of varied and differentiated uses establish an architectural basis for a research building of the future.

  • The new building with its clearly defined building structure fits well into the heterogeneous surroundings of the research campus.

  • The PETRA synchrotron tunnel is attached to the eastern end of the building, its curve of deviation being reflected in the form of a connecting spine.

  • A “science bridge” leads to the neighbouring PETRA hall. The adjoining café with terrace provides a platform for scientific exchange.

» What special ideas have informed this building? «

Beyond content and organisation, we wanted to add an architectural dimension to the idea of “centre”. The galleries and flights of stairs from which many different views can be experienced are the communicative centrepieces of the building. Materials and colours help to carry this place’s atmospheric ideas and individuality. The aim in the highly equipped lab environment, rather, was to develop very flexible structures, which would meet the diversified demands on the one hand and on the other, would prove sufficiently neutral and adaptive in the future.


Centre for Structural Systems Biology CSSB, Hamburg

  • Notkestraße 85
  • 22607 Hamburg
  • Deutschland

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