MVRDV wins competition to design the Innovation Park Artificial Intelligence in Heilbronn

MVRDV wins competition to design the Innovation Park Artificial Intelligence in Heilbronn

MVRDV won a competition to develop Heilbronn’s Innovation Park Artificial Intelligence (Ipai). A combination of a business campus, laboratories, a startup innovation center, housing, a communication center, and facilities such as a restaurant and kindergarten transform the campus into not only an attractive place to work, but also a destination for curious visitors. see the development of world-changing technologies firsthand, interact with the people behind their creation, and learn about the intentions behind their work. The design aims to promote the campus as a world-leading place for the development of AI technology through its recognizable circular plan.

The concept was created for a consortium led by the Heilbronn Municipality and the Dieter Schwarz Foundation. MVRDV’s design requires a dramatic, recognizable gesture to compete with world-renowned IT centers from Silicon Valley to Shenzhen. The decision to write the master plan’s buildings in a circle will make the Ipai campus immediately identifiable, functioning as a branding strategy that enhances its image worldwide – even visible in satellite photos.

The majority of the structures have simple rectangular shapes and regular heights of 27 meters, making them easy to build with modular grids and bio-based materials. A handful of “specials” stand out from the crowd at the center of the plan, with unique typologies, iconic shapes and taller towers defining the university’s skyline. The most visible of these is the communications center, a round tower in the plan’s central plaza that serves as a point of contact for the public to interact with the campus’ work, with space for events, exhibitions, conferences, a visitor center, and ‘ a training center.

“The developments we have seen recently in the field of AI demand the attention of people from all walks of life, and with this design we are creating a compact campus to make this happen,” says MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs . “The striking shape of the campus can help propel it to an international stage and attract world-class talent. Meanwhile, the welcoming and engaging atmosphere, even the recognizable appearance, make this place a destination where people can engage with the future of this technology.”

“Innovation needs space – space for networks, collaboration and creativity”, says dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, the Minister of Economic Affairs, Labor and Tourism of Baden-Württemberg. “I am deeply impressed by how spectacularly the architects have implemented this vision. The Innovation Park Artificial Intelligence will make a decisive contribution so that Baden-Württemberg can play a leading role in the commercialization of ethically responsible AI worldwide.”

The campus’s compact design leaves much of the overall site open for a parametric landscape design by LOLA to enhance this location’s existing natural features. As a result, a portion of Heilbronn that is currently grassland will be transformed into forests, orchards and meadows that will serve as testbeds for biodiversity and agriculture-related AI technology. These natural design components contribute significantly to the amount of carbon stored as part of the overall master plan, lowering the campus’ carbon footprint.

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