The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), one of the leading research centers in southwestern Germany, recently ran short of lab space dedicated to developing and experimenting with new energy products. The platform commissioned Stuttgart firm Behnisch Architekten to design a single building that would allow its users “to explore the interplay of components in the energy systems of the future and in particular to speed up the Germany transition to renewable energy and production of electricity,” according to the firm.
The result is The Energy Lab 2.0, a seemingly delicate timber and concrete structure of almost 19,000 square feet, all of which is wrapped in translucent polycarbonate strips. Copious amounts of natural light pour into the assembly hall, a nearly columnless two-story room occupying the center of the building, through the gossamer walls and saw-toothed ceiling. Wide-set walkways on the second floor are supported by hollow timber walls designed to resemble exposed balloon frames.