Home » MVRDV to design ‘striking’ AI park in Germany

MVRDV to design ‘striking’ AI park in Germany

by Liam Turner
Overview of MVRDV's AI park in Heilbronn, Germany

MVRDV has been chosen to design the new Innovation Park Artificial Intelligence (Ipai) in the German city of Heilbronn.

The Dutch architectural firm’s circular design aims to position the campus as a world-leading site for the development of AI technologies.

MVRDV says the decision to inscribe the buildings of the masterplan in a circle will make the Ipai Campus instantly recognisable, serving as a branding tool that raises its profile worldwide – even being visible in satellite photos.

The park will comprise a business campus, laboratories, a start-up innovation centre, housing, communication centre, and amenities such as a restaurant and kindergarten.

Visitors will also be able to come to see the development of world-changing technologies first hand, to interact with the people behind their creation, and to learn about the intentions behind their work.

The masterplan design was developed for a consortium led by the municipality of Heilbronn and the Dieter Schwarz Foundation.

The detail

Circumscribing the campus buildings is a 1.2-kilometre-long path that incorporates various activities that animate the campus, including a sprint track, skate park, tribune, and viewpoints to the surroundings.

Inside the platonic shape, MVRDV says masterplan is simple, flexible, and sustainable.

Two off-centre axes define the plan: a historical Roman path that provides the main north-south route, and the sport and health corridor that places a series of outdoor spaces in the east-west direction.

Most of the buildings take rectangular forms and have consistent heights of 27 metres, which MVRDV says will make them efficient to construct with modular grids and bio-based materials.

At the heart of the plan, a number of ‘specials’ stand out from the crowd, with unique typologies, iconic forms, and taller structures marking the campus skyline.

The most impactful of these, says MVRDV, is the communications centre, a round tower that sits on the central plaza at the heart of the plan and acts as a point of contact for the public to interact with the work of the campus.

The programming of these spaces, which aims to entice the public to interact with AI, was conceived in cooperation with Berlin-based experts for placemaking REALACE.

‘Networking, cooperation, and creativity’

MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs said: “The developments we have seen recently in the field of AI demand the attention of people from all walks of life, and with this design we create a compact campus for this to happen.

“The striking form of the campus can help to propel it to an international stage, attracting world-class talent.

“Meanwhile, the welcoming and engaging atmosphere, even the recognisable appearance, make this place a destination where people can engage in the future of this technology.”

Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, the minister for Economic Affairs, Labour, and Tourism of Baden-Württemberg, said: “Innovation needs space – space for networking, cooperation, and creativity”.

“I am deeply impressed by how spectacularly the architects have implemented this vision.

“The Innovation Park Artificial Intelligence will make a decisive contribution so that Baden-Württemberg can play a leading role worldwide in the commercialisation of ethically responsible AI.”

New forests, orchards, and meadows will serve as test-beds for biodiversity- and agriculture-related AI tech. Credit: MVRDV

Once operational, the energy consumption of the campus is set to be around 80% lower than a typical campus of the same size.

Bioclimatic façades and energy-efficient building services help to minimise the energy required to run the campus, while renewable energy is produced locally through wind turbines and solar panels and stored using batteries and ground-based heat and cold storage.

The plan is projected to be 100% carbon-neutral over the course of its lifespan.

MVRDV designed the Innovation Park Artificial Intelligence for the Ipai Consortium, which comprises the Dieter Schwarz Foundation, the Municipality of Heilbronn, and Schwarz Group.

The design was developed in collaboration with LOLA Landscape Architects alongside Thornton Tomasetti, Studio Animal-Aided Design, REALACE, Peutz Consult, and Gruner Deutschland.

Main image credit: MVRDV

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