Architecture non résidentielle
Author(s)be baumschlager eberle
CBA Christian Bauer & Associés
Le Fonds Belval
Year of completion
The University of Luxembourg is one of the most recent in Europe. In 2005, the government decided to locate a new “Cité des sciences” in the urban district of Belval in Esch-sur-Alzette.
Following an international competition, be baumschlager eberle, in cooperation with Christian Bauer & Associés Architectes, furnished the plot with a new landmark: the “Maison du Savoir” is the communications center for the future university buildings. This is where the general infrastructure, such as lecture halls and seminar rooms as well as professors’ lounges, administrative offices and restaurants, are combined. The individual institutes are grouped facing towards and around this “House of Knowledge” and the library building which is also planned. The “Maison” can be understood as a clear signal within the homogeneous framework of the institutes. With its 18 floors, however, it is also a reference to the height development of the old steel mills left over from the industrial era.
Based with its entrance zones on two concrete cores, the building opens up the dimensions of height and width. A subjective impression of floating is created by a concrete construction, cantilevered out from the cores from the second floor upwards. In terms of urban design, transparency from the “Place du Saint-Esprit” to the north all the way to the open spaces of the buildings of the library and the institutes to the south is achieved by simple means. The “Maison du Savoir” creates an urban context and continuum without relinquishing its solitary position in the process or, as Martin Heidegger once described it: “It is only the bridge that crosses the river which creates a place.” A place, that offers great qualities also on the inside. The “city within the city” becomes programmatic here, in actual fact lacking only the larger dimension. In response to the architects’ vision, the two-storey auditoriums float above the ground of the horizontal wing.