Grimshaw wins the competition for the design of the master plan for the Muesmatt campus of the University of Bern
Grimshaw Architects, Archipelago Generalplanung AG, and landscape architects EARTH won the competition to design the master plan for University of Bern‘s Muesmatt campus in Switzerland. The winning design was selected from a shortlist of 26 entrants and praised for how it opens up the Bern neighborhood and reestablishes urban and visual connections.
The master plan introduces new facilities to support the university’s program and enhances the site as a redefined public space. Located close to the UNESCO-listed Old Town of Bern, the new buildings will create a respectful environment and pay homage to the city’s existing heritage buildings, some of which date from the late 19th and mid-20th centuries. .
A new district will be developed in front of the Art Nouveau-style Saint-Paul church to the east, and a series of smaller buildings with courtyards and green spaces will be set up to the south. The redevelopment works in the area include the demolition, reconstruction and adaptation of existing buildings, in order to create a multidisciplinary “science cluster” for the campus. The proportions, size and positioning of the buildings are an integral part of the design concept, as they respond to the typography of the context and create a continuous transition from the edge of the campus area to the central plaza, without neglecting the bell tower of the Saint Church. -Paul.
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On the landscape side, a green axis on Gertrud-Woker-Strasse will be redeveloped into a pedestrian avenue, becoming the “backbone” of the masterplan and connecting it to the new six-storey natural science building. The entire master plan is surrounded by a “green belt” and reinvents the country’s native alpine flora to enhance campus biodiversity and provide recreational and serene spaces for students, researchers and residents.
The first phase of the works will cover the large-scale natural science building, and the rest of the new buildings will cover the second. These aim to better define the green axis of the site and to frame a network of car-free routes, simplifying links with neighboring university buildings.