“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”, states MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs.
“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 recognizable appearance, make this place a destination where people can engage in the future of this technology.”
Designed for Ipai Konsortium, MVRDV’s latest project, working along with LOLA landscape architects, is a business campus prestigious enough to compete with world-renowned tech hubs from Silicon Valley to Shenzhen, in Germany.
The masterplan design is circular which will make the Ipai Campus instantly recognizable, serving as a branding tool that raises its profile worldwide – even being visible in satellite photos.
Circumscribing the campus buildings is a 1.2-kilometer-long path that incorporates various activities that animate the campus, including a sprint track, skate park, tribune, and viewpoints of the surroundings.
Inside the platonic shape, the master plan is simple, flexible, and sustainable.
Two off-center 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 simple rectangular forms and have consistent heights of 27 meters, making 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 is the communications center, 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, with space for events, exhibitions, conferences, a visitor center, and a training center.
As a result, a part of Heilbronn that is currently grassland will see the growth of forests, orchards, and meadows, which will serve as test beds for biodiversity- and agriculture-related AI tech.
These natural elements of the design contribute significantly to the amount of carbon stored as part of the overall master plan, reducing the carbon footprint of the campus.
The energy consumption of the campus will be around 80% lower than a typical campus of the same size.
The architects use bioclimatic façades and energy-efficient building services that will help to minimize 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.
Including the carbon stored by the design’s reforestation of the landscape and the embodied carbon in the buildings themselves, the plan is therefore projected to be 100% carbon-neutral over the course of its lifespan.
Project: Innovation Park Artificial Intelligence in Heilbronn
Lead Architects: Jacob van Rijs
Landscape Architects: LOLA