Imaging Centre


Meyerhofstraße 1
69117 Heidelberg | Rohrbach

Project Partner

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg

Contact Person

Michael Braum


Countless scientific institutions try and attract researchers from all over the world to Heidelberg and are turning the city into an important node in the international research community. Often, however, the important and pioneering research tasks and insights garnered remain hidden from view to the Heidelberg locals. The idea is to change all this with the Imaging Centre des European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) new build – one of the European Union’s leading research institutes and driven by more than 20 of its member states: The transparent architecture symbolizes the openness of one of the leading research institutes in Europe, where work is being done on trailblazing electron and optical microscope procedures to visualize the very smallest building blocks of life.

Heidelberg-based architecture practice gerstner + hofmeister with Jürgen Usleber emerged winners in 2016 of the architectural competition chaired by Michael Braum. The foundation stone was laid in 2019. The multifunctional edifice accommodates laboratories and training facilities, offices and rooms for highly sensitive technologies for research institution. Be-hind the multi-layered glass façade of the new build show windows grant a direct view of the work of the researchers at the high-tech microscopes. The Imaging Center enables up to 300 guest researchers annually access to the innovative imaging technologies. The campus expansion at Klein Odenwald created in interaction with the transparent architecture of the EMBL Imaging Centre creates a new magnet for interested parties: In an expansive, publicly accessible section, an exhibition offers impressions into molecular biology; it visualizes how the insights gained by the researchers impact on our understanding of organisms and illnesses.

In a discursive culture strongly defined by images the visualization of scientific findings form a key element in the interface between research and the public sphere. The Imaging Centre takes a new and trailblazing approach. It reduces the distance between research and civil so-ciety. At the same time, the visualization of living molecular building blocks is something accessible to few scientists to date – whereas here guest researchers from all over the world are invited to work with the latest microscopes.


July 2016

Decision of the architectural competition

January 2017

Nominated as an IBA project

August 2017

Financing agreement signed with the seven external funding partners

March 2018

Launch of the »Steering Committee«

April 2019


September 2021