ESOC Callisto

Darmstadt, Germany

Architecture, University / Campus

Size: 9,200 m2
Status: Design
Project Design: 2010
Address: Robert-Bosch-Str. 5; 64293, Darmstadt, Germany
Client: European Space Agency, ESA/ESOC

Design Team: Mecanoo, West8 (landscape)

Programme: Campus expansion of 9,200 sqm with 2,400 sqm conference and visitors centre, new 1,600 sqm canteen, relocation of logistics center, office buildings of 4,900 sqm and 1,300 sqm, parking with 200 places and the plans for future expansion.

Awards: 2nd prize competition

The European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) campus is located on the outskirts of Darmstadt. While the ESOC lies in a highly urbanised area, it also borders a protected forest. The current campus comprises a random collection of loose buildings. The new Callisto master plan provides both a clear identity for the campus and a coherent plan for future developments.

The plan is phased to enable the campus to remain fully operational during construction. The name of the master plan derives from Callisto, one of Jupiter’s moons whose round forms inspired the courtyards that merge naturally with the forested landscape.

Furthermore, the courtyards define the central zones around which future extensions will take place. The new building connects the separate buildings with circular forms that counterbalance the rigid architecture of the existing campus.

The master plan integrates a new office block with a semi-basement car park and also accommodates a conference and visitor centre and canteen overlooking nature. Integrated internal walkways connect the different functions.

The landscape design takes its cue from the principle of the ‘borrowed landscape’. Existing trees and plants are incorporated into the master plan.

Every courtyard generates a different atmosphere and thus has a distinct identity. For example, the main entrance is dominated by water where visitors are welcomed by reflections of sunlight in the irregular-shaped ponds.

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