research architecture
research architecture
research architecture
research architecture
research architecture
research architecture
research architecture
research architecture
research architecture
research architecture
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DTU Life Science & Bioengineering Building 202

An ambient Biosphere

”The Biosphere apears as something taken out of the future. At the same time the warm glow of the oak lamellaes is recognizeable and comforting. Thus, the space becomes simultainiously know and un-known – displaying the high standard of craftmanship everywhere”

Judges committee of the Danish Carpentry Guild in their motivation for rewarding the project the Carpentry award in 2017.

The new building for Life Science and Bioengineering is the largest project since the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) was inaugurated in the 1960s. In a respectful yet innovative interpretion of the original architecture of the DTU Campus, the façade of gold-anodised and black-lacquered aluminium is broken into sections with niches and balconies that create a vibrant sense of scale and brings in daylight. The building rises from the ground opening up into a warm wooden interior where the atmospheric atrium, the Biosphere, is located. The Biosphere is the heart of the building and the 13 metre tall atrium will form an exciting centre for encounters between scientists, employees, and students across floors. The thousands of oak lamellas translate the golden hue of the façade into an inner texture, that reflects the professions of biology and nature. At the same time, the oak lamellas mirror the unique nature rich surroundings and symbolize the grove of oak trees that once was located on the site of building B202. The building also houses research facilities and laboratories with a wide range of functions, including gigantic saltwater tanks, fish pens and a state-of-the-art ventilation system. The research architecture is open and warm, creating the best conditions for developing and sharing new knowledge.

The research architecture creates cross pollination

The Biosphere is the place where more than 800 scientists and students from the National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua), the National Food Institute (DTU Food) and the National Veterinary Institute (DTU Vet) meet. The atmospheric atrium creates a sensuous meeting point trough it’s acoustics, smell and visual density. Through the architecture we create a connection to the long history and future ambitions of DTU. Solid and recognizable materials, seen all over the facilities of DTU such as slate and oak, give the building a heaviness and authenticity. The clinic laboratories, where science is the main focus, are in great contrast to the social and warming biosphere. Here, daylight flows from large skylights above oak-clad meeting boxes that almost float in mid-air. The meeting boxes, that almost look like big blocks, create a wealth of spatialities, where people can meet across professions, that research everything from sustainable use of the ocean to nutrition, resistance of antibiotics and more.

Sustainable ambitions

In the project, we have worked with issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the project was not designed to address the global goals, as it was created before the goals were adopted by the UN. We have created the architecture with a focus on a healthy indoor climate with good acoustics, plenty of daylight and a comfortable regulation of temperature. Furthermore, the building is energy-efficient. We have worked with issues related to: SDG 2: Zero hunger, SDG 3: Good Health and well-being, SDG 4: Quality education, SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy, SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth, SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production, SDG 14: Life below water and SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals.


The building contains over 250 research laboratories, research aquariums, and other research-related facilities to support research and education in diverse areas such as sustainable ocean exploitation, nutrition, food safety, antibiotic resistance and surveillance, and combating livestock diseases, including vaccine development. The laboratories encompass a wide range of specific functions, including giant saltwater tanks holding several tons of water, fish stalls, safety equipment, and state-of-the-art ventilation systems. The aim of the construction was to create internationally leading research environments within a modern building where a vibrant atmosphere promotes synergy among the three institutes and encourages networking across research communities.

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
47.000 m²
Lyngby Campus, DK
Rørbæk & Møller Architects, Schul Landscape Architects, COWI, Norconsult
Adam Mørk
DTU – Aqua, Veterinary, Food Engineering
  • In 2017 the Biosphere received The Danish Carpentry Award and in 2018 building B202 won the Architizer A+ awards Popular Choice award in details – plus – architecture +wood.