In 2018, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden’s largest medical university, opened its new facility: Biomedicum – a state of the art laboratory building that houses five departments. Inspired by organic shapes, the well-known Danish architectural firm C.F. Møller Architects designed a building, characterized by light and transparency. These qualities are reflected in the unique art glass façade that clads the four main stairwells of the building: 1,000 square meters of hand blown Lamberts Glass®, each sheet independently lit, stretching across 9 stories, harmonizing with the buildings features, yet uniquely beautiful.
The incentive for Biomedicum was to collect five departments in one building, thus facilitating interdisciplinary cooperation and research through physical vicinity. Following this premise, the client, Akademiska Hus, set a goal for C.F. Møller Architects to create a positive working environment that would provide opportunity to meet and naturally foster the exchange of ideas and experiences. The white marbled glass facades of the stairwells are an important component to this vision, creating an atmosphere of light transparency and comfort. At the same time, the artistic translation provided a creative solution to the technical task of sufficiently lighting the four stairwells which serve as emergency exits to the building.
For the technical development and realization of the large art glass façades, C.F. Møller Architects invited a collaboration of different companies: Derix Glasstudios in Germany and light designer Arne Fiedler devised a nearly invisible installation system that allowed for an easy installation of the art glass from the front and elegantly hides the several thousand LED lights, necessary to light the façade. German art glass manufacturer Lamberts produced approx. 2,000 unique sheets of hand blown antique glass that were then sorted by a team of Derix artisans. They devised an installation plan that aimed to highlight the unique characteristics of each individual glass panel while simultaneously using the individually programmed LED lights to create dynamic light gradations for an overall aesthetic experience.
Early in the planning stages, Akademiska Hus allowed for the building of a real size mock-up, spanning the size of one entire floor, that allowed the entire team of architects and fabricators to make adjustments, test the mounting and light, and that left everyone inspired and enthusiastic about the project.
In March 2019, Biomedicum won the prestigious Årets Bygge 2019 (Building of the Year 2019) price in Sweden.
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
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