Tel Aviv University has selected the design of French studio Atelier d’Architecture Michel Remon as the winning project in the open international competition for its new Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Center.
The decision comes one month after three finalists were announced. Atelier d'Architecture Michel Remon beat out Jestico+Whiles Associates (UK) and Zarhy+Pez (Israel/Switzerland) in the three-stage competition (a prequalification stage plus two main stages).
According to the university, "the proposal of Atelier d’Architecture Michel Remon fits the local context and identity of Tel Aviv and the University campus and reflects the advanced progress in science, technology and innovation, which is very important for the new center and for the spirit of the Tel Aviv Campus."
No doubt the selection was aided by the considerable experience of Remon's firm in designing projects for technological buildings. Per a statement from Strelka KB, which administered the competition, "The studio [has] developed project[s] for the National Research Centre for Scientific Research (Meudon, suburb of Paris), the Physics and Biology Laboratories for Ecole Polytechnique (Palaiseau, suburb of Paris), the National Solar Energy Institute (Savoy), the Paris-Saclay Research Сentre of Air Liquide."
The new laboratory building will contain 12 research labs across three floors: physical, biophysical, neural engineering, molecular electronics and other labs, as well as office and public areas. More than 120 scientists and engineers will be housed in what the university boasts as "one of the most technological and cutting-edge buildings in the Middle East" once it's completed in 2020.
The most distinctive architecture feature of the 6,000-m2 building is the matrix of vertical lines that wrap the three-story glass box. The load-bearing exoskeleton shades the interior while "making an iconic architecture beyond scale."
Full statement from Atelier d'Architecture Michel Remon on the conceptual solution for the project:
To respond to the complex and technical brief, we imagined a building of great simplicity.
To best complement the Tel Aviv University Campus, the Nano Center should forge a new kind of iconography, one based on innovative building performance and taking into account the massing and external appearance of nearby buildings.
We propose to play with the architectural element in common with nanoscience and nanotechnologies: SCALE.
We imagine a shape made with a matrix of similar elements, vertical lines that will create a skin around the building. This building without any traditional scale, like windows or doors, will act as a geometric landscape creating by undulations on the surface.
This second skin is also a load-bearing exoskeleton and a means to control sunlight and relationship between the inside and the outside. This shape expresses a building dedicated to what is infinitely small, dedicated to future. A precise geometry making an iconic architecture beyond scale.
The proposal adopts a strategic way to allow for future changes to be made. Based on a “modular principle”, structure and internal spaces layout are generic. The proposal wraps the laboratories into a unique perimeter loop corridor. Rather than a rigid plan, this organization provides independent access to each laboratory thought any plausible combinations. It’s built as a factory for research.
The new building intends to be a functional working space that provides a stimulating environment fit to combine concentration on research with informal encounters and communication.
The design of the building will respect the characteristics specified for various spaces with different types of activities. Offices and public spaces will be provided with natural light and direct views to the outside, while laboratories will be be protected from sunrays.
The proposal provides two major technical entities in the basement and in the technical floor on the roof hidden behind the grid.
At its urban planning level, the project is understood as a future new access to the Tel Aviv Campus. Reinforcing the east-west green axis and establishing an urban dialogue with the Museum of Jewish Diaspora and the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History. It enables the extension of the TAU campus in adherance to the existing urban plan. This premise defines the building location and ground occupation, in an attempt to release a new East Entrance. The new building will act as a gate or outpost-building to the campus from the zoological and botanical garden and will create the first impression of the university.
The architectural ambition of the project is to create a building that respects the neighbouring buildings and surrounding area, whilst also adding a piece of contemporary architecture to Tel Aviv University. The geometric rationality of the Nano center will be amended by an undulating movement that echoes the wind flow.
The building’s structure is designed for the seismic hazard, the wind load and the floor live load below, according to the brief.