The HIT building for the e-Science Lab is part of the third extension phase on the Hönggerberg Campus of ETH Zurich and is located close to the northwest corner of the area. It follows the basic geometry composed of individual building complexes, already outlined in the original master plan, which are integrated into a generally orthogonal grid of streets. The five- and six-storey new building is composed of an angular building structure along the main roads in the north and the east, succeeded by a further angle – in such a manner that the overall structure seems to reflect the rectangle of the allotment and the imaginary cuboid shape of the volume on the one hand and opens up to the south and the west with its courts on the other. On these sides, extensions are feasible. The dual-storey opening on the east side creates an entry situation with a view into the first court.
The passageway leads onto the cafeteria to the left, over which the school management is located, and onto the main entry area of the HIT building to the right. Auditoriums and seminar zones are arranged in the eastern part of the northern wing, while the research areas enframe the northwestern court in a U-shape.
A reinforced concrete skeleton structure with bracing cores constitutes the supporting structure of the new building and guarantees the flexibility of utilisation thanks to the separation of construction and installation. The outer shell of the new building consists of a continuous glass façade with casement windows. A matt metallic coating in silk-screen print oscillates between opaque and transparent from one floor to the next, thus creating a colour progression which conceals the ceiling fronts and rouleaus and serves as a sun protection in the diffuse areas.
The overworked project, on the other hand, features a succession of balustrade coverings and permanent glazing with narrower ventilation wings. The greenish panes have dark stripes – at the level of the windows, due to the frames, as a rhythmical element in the area of the balustrades, which creates swinging colour progressions in a horizontal direction. The regular stripe design of the fallarm blinds additionally superposes and enhances the rhythmic effect.
Text: Hubertus Adam