dgj022 Entrance Forestry Research Campus WSL Birmensdorf , Birmensdorf , CH , 2003


The federal institute for forests, snow, and landscape is a leading research institution in its field. The new entrance building communicates the content and impact of its research to a wider audience, and forms the new centre of the research campus that consists of several buildings on different height levels.

Diverging from the initial competition brief, DGJ proposed a building at a central location next to the entrance to the site from the main road. The building forms an artificial plateau which overlooks the campus and all of its buildings. At the same time, the landscape roof is lifted on one side to form a connection between the upper entrance level of the campus and the lower level, which connects all the buildings via a newly established central platform.

Corporate Architecture

The appearance of the building and the key components of the design have been developed from the research content of the institution: Forest (timber), Snow and Landscape.

The forest is articulated by the trees of the arboretum (tree collection), which is continued on the central platform. Next to the trees there are small greenhouses, which exhibit the research into the growth conditions of trees. The concept for the exhibition was to give the visitor an insight into the actual research facilities, and exhibit the processes of research rather than just results. The main building material used for the building is timber, which articulates the use of the research into trees and forests in an impressive way.

The shape of the building has been generated as an abstraction of a snow-formation that can be found in the mountains that is one of the main causes of avalanches: the wind blows the snow over an edge of the mountains, where it freezes to an overhang which will collapse when the temperature is rising. This gesture also generates the connection between the upper level of the building which contains the reception, the exhibition, and the lecture area, and the lower level, where the cafeteria is.

This artificial landscape is an architectural abstraction of the natural landscape, which is forced into a geometrical framework in order to generate an observable section of the complexity of nature that can be represented and analyzed by scientific methods.

project period May 01 2003 - Okt 13 2003
useRepresentative. Trade Fare, Landscape
address Zürcherstrasse 111, Birmensdorf
floor area 850 m²
building volume 3,200 m³
budget 2.5 Mio. CHF
price 2. Price
client Federal Building Research Department
commissionInvited Competition
project team: Sabine Bruckmann
project partner: Ade Hauser Lacour, Graphic Design, Frankfurt am Main
project status: Awarded Competition Entry
Leistungsphasen:Building Permit