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  • Construction and Modernisation

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Modernisation of the Main University Building (UHG)

In a total of six construction phases, "Bau und Liegenschaftsbetrieb NRW" (BLB NRW) will modernise the University's main building in the coming years. BLB NRW is the owner of the building and thus also the developer of the modernisation. Changing requirements for teaching, study, research and working conditions, adaptation to the new fire protection and energy saving regulations, the issue of building pollutants as well as the outdated building services are the decisive reasons for the modernisation.

The Starting Position

More than in any other university in Germany, the successful development of Bielefeld University is closely connected with the architecture and unique structural features of its main university building, developed in 1969. The building, characterised by its high concentration of many functions in a compact space, short walking distances and its central university hall, is integral to the identity of Bielefeld University.

Approximately 40 years since its construction, however, the building can no longer meet all of the demands of a modern university infrastructure as conditions of study, teaching, research, administration and service have changed. This applies primarily to areas for communication, technology, room layout, visibility of facilities and services.

The modernisation will take the form of a core refurbishment, i.e. partial demolition to the shell construction, over six construction areas. As the areas undergoing construction have to be completely vacated, the task of managing the available space and the move will be one of the main challenges for the coming years.

The complete modernisation and necessary measures accompanying it (Building X, new building for Experimental Physics, development of Campus Bielefeld) involve an investment of over 1 billion Euros.

The Tasks Ahead

As the success and the identity of Bielefeld University are strongly connected to its architecture, from 1969, the University intends to preserve the philosophy and structure of the building during the process of modernisation.

The modernised main university building (UHG) has to meet the new demands of a modern university infrastructure in a sustainable way for the future. Modernisation, then, doesn't mean a "totally new concept for the UHG", rather a "further development of what has already proved its worth with the addition of necessary changes."

Central tasks for the planners:

•    To further develop the structure of the building with the principle of interconnection, integration and concentration.
•    To redesign the entryway to the University, so that there is an inviting entrance.
•    To extend the main UHG integrating the Service Centre.
•    To keep the central university hall space as a connecting and communicative forum.

Planning procedure:

The Bau-und Liegenschaftsbetrieb NRW conducted a German Tendering and Contract Procedure (VOB) for the modernisation of the main university building of Bielefeld University following an initial competition. The VOB is a local authority code of freelance contractual work and contains details of rules on contracting delivery firms, services and building work. In contrast to an architectural competition, the focus of the VOB procedure is on an integrated approach taking into consideration architectural, functional and financial aspects.

First Area of Construction

Map of the construction phase in the Main University Building

In 2014, "Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb" began work on the first construction phase...

Information on the first area of construction

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