The Center for Laboratory Medicine (ZLM) provides basic laboratory care as well as special analysis for the Cantonal Hospital of St. Gallen (KSSG) and the public hospitals and was the subject of a project competition. A new building is to meet today’s requirements for modern laboratory operations and increased capacity demands.
The design of the planning team led by Christ & Gantenbein Architects was awarded first place. The structural and façade planners from Lüchinger+Meyer actively supported the work. The proposed new building for the ZLM consists of a head on the Rorschacherstrasse, which will contain the social uses, and a serial structure connected behind it, which will house laboratory and office workplaces. The rammed earth columns are a special identifying feature of the design, which give the foyer and break rooms an earthy and warm atmosphere.
We are particularly pleased that the jury considered the load-bearing structure to be an essential contribution to the successful overall concept and praised it right at the start of the project presentation: “With a convincingly simple load-bearing structure, the authors succeed in creating a column-free floor plan. The three-hinged beam seemingly easily overcomes the entire depth of the building while creating an inspiring industrial charm inside the space.” The glued laminated timber frames, which are conically shaped in accordance with the force progression and have a span of 17 meters, offer maximum flexibility of use when aligned 13 times and stacked five stories high. Prefabricated wood-concrete composite floors complete the hybrid structure.
The sustainability requirement was also taken into account in the façade planning. The building envelope was developed with a focus on high-quality materials and designed for low maintenance. For example, a metal façade made of recycled aluminum, photovoltaic elements as power plant and shading elements, and rammed earth structures to be manufactured from local deposits are used here.
We congratulate the entire competition team and look forward to the joint realization of the project!
(Visualization: Christ & Gantenbein)