Recognition award for research station "traces" as exemplary construction

The research station "traces" of the University of Kassel has been awarded a recognition in the prize category "Social Infrastructure" at the State Prize for Architecture and Urban Development, Exemplary Buildings in the State of Hesse 2023. The prize was jointly offered by the State of Hesse, represented by the Hessian Ministry of Finance, and the Chamber of Architects and Town Planners of Hesse (AKH).

This year's award process under the theme "Connecting society, city and country - social, green, blue and gray infrastructures for the future" focused on sustainable infrastructures. In this context, these refer to all buildings and interiors, open spaces and public spaces, traffic facilities and routes, as well as supply and disposal facilities that make a sustainable contribution to a public welfare-oriented, resilient and sustainable provision of public services.

Students of the University of Kassel realized the 100 square meter research station Traces under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Philipp Oswalt and Dr. Andreas Buss (Department of Architectural Theory and Design) on Lutherplatz in downtown Kassel in the summer of 2022. The transdisciplinary research center is designed for five years and serves as a working, event and communication space for exhibition studies.

Prof. Dr. Philipp Oswalt explains: "With "traces" we would like to promote above all the exchange between university research and teaching with urban society. The program of events is diverse: students and teachers provide insights into their work with talks, lectures, workshops, seminars and exhibitions and involve the public in their research in the sense of "Citizen Science". We have designed the building to be as universal and open to use as possible in order to create a structure that can be used sustainably. Students of architecture, landscape architecture, product design and visual communication built "traces" as a design-build project."

Jury member Thomas Kasten explained the recognition award this way, "What makes this project stand out, however, is on the one hand the remarkable workmanship in detail and on the other hand the very good interior atmosphere. The architectural integration in the urban space has also been successful, which is due to the concatenation of many favorable circumstances, such as visual relations, natural shading, connection to the local infrastructure, etc.". (...) The interior quality is also remarkable, generating a solid, pleasant and not at all barrack-like sensation. The rooms are functional, easy to connect and can also be used individually. Overall, a well thought-out concept, allowing for a high degree of connection with the outdoor space. "Traces" is a well-rounded project that is not only functional but also very successful in terms of design, and we would like to see many more imitators of it."

The award for exemplary buildings is part of the sustainability strategy of the state of Hesse, as Michael Boddenberg, Hesse's Minister of Finance, explains: "The projects submitted make an important contribution to the public discourse on how we can secure and further develop the quality of life in our cities and rural areas. Successful infrastructure projects are the basis for a public welfare-oriented provision of public services and thus an essential building block for the future of our society."

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