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Digital groundbreaking ceremony for the new Witten/Herdecke University campus building

Press release   •   May 19, 2020 15:28 CEST

Prof. Dr.med.vet. Jan Ehlers (vice president), Dipl. oec. Jan Peter Nonnenkamp (chancellor) and Prof. Dr. med. Martin Butzlaff (president) (left to right) completed the symbolic digital groundbraking for the extension building of UW/H.
  • Because of the coronavirus situation, the symbolic start of construction will be held online on 19 May.
  • ZÜBLIN Timber responsible for turnkey construction

Unusual times call for creative solutions, like the digital groundbreaking ceremony for the extension building at Witten/Herdecke University (UW/H). The university is documenting the symbolic start of construction with a YouTube video.

The official start to the project marks an exciting phase for the construction of the three-storey hybrid timber building, being built to a design by the Berlin-based architects Kaden+Lager as a link between the existing buildings of the university campus. The approx. € 22 million turnkey construction contract including planning and outdoor facilities went to the timber construction specialist ZÜBLIN Timber GmbH of Aichach. In addition to office, administrative and seminar rooms, the extension building will also house the library, event rooms for science, art and culture as well as a café. The completion of the extension building is already planned for late summer/early autumn 2021. “We are very much looking forward to one of the most sustainable university buildings in Germany. So far, we are fully on schedule and hope that this will remain the case despite the coronavirus crisis,” says Chancellor Jan Peter Nonnenkamp.

A look at the construction site reveals that everything is ready: the crane has been set up and the ground has been prepared to take the load of the building. “It is a special moment, because now our new campus building, our ‘future space’, is becoming a reality. With each additional week, we can imagine more vividly how young people will use the new space for discourse and reflection to rethink and redesign the society of tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to that,” says Dr. Martin Butzlaff, President of Witten/Herdecke University. Architect Markus Lager is also looking ahead to the “digital start” to construction: “We can now look forward to the time when the first students will use the new building. Of course, we will do our best to support the construction progress in order to reach that happy moment soon.”

The foundation will be poured before the end of May. At the same time, the timber elements are already being prefabricated to precision at the ZÜBLIN Timber plant in Bavaria. The modular components will follow at the beginning of August. “We will be using a total of around 1,200 m3 of certified wood, with each cubicmetre binding a tonne of CO2. Thanks to the prefabrication of the parts and the intelligent coordination of the specialist trades involved, we can shorten the raising and assembly of the timber elements to just four months, so that the basic structure will be finished before the onset of winter,” says site manager Theresa Fischer from ZÜBLIN Timber.

An outlook on the design

Besides its attractive timber façade, the building will feature plenty of “inner values”. The focus in the interior is on openness and communication, although several quiet spaces for concentrated work will be provided as well. All premises can also be flexibly and quickly adapted to different usage requirements. The low-tech energy concept, featuring simple handling and innovative building technology with a combined heat and power plant, is all about sustainability. Rooftop terraces and a newly designed outdoor area with a square and park offer additional communication and recreation areas for an increased quality of life.

ZÜBLIN Timberstands for ambitious and pioneered solutions in the field of timber construction. We are a single-source provider for the development, production, delivery, and execution of high-quality timber construction systems – from simple structural frames to complex timber engineering to turnkey project execution. We work hand in hand with our clients to develop efficient solutions and a sustainable quality of life: www.zueblin-timber.com

Since its founding in 1982, Witten/Herdecke University (UW/H) has played a pioneering role in the German educational landscape. As a model university with around 2,600 students in the fields of healthcare, business and culture, UW/H stands for a reform of the classical alma mater. At UW/H, knowledge transfer always goes hand in hand with value orientation and personal development. http://www.uni-wh.de.

The architectural firm of Kaden+Lager is a pioneer in the field of urban timber construction and with a multitude of different projects has paved the way for this increasingly widespread construction method. Kaden+Lager was founded in 2014 by Tom Kaden and Markus Lager. In addition to various residential construction projects in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, Kaden+Lager are increasingly involved in the field of educational construction. In addition to the new campus building at Witten/Herdecke University, Kaden+Lager are also designing and building an extension building and a new building for a school in Leipzig. www.kadenundlager.de.

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