Max Planck Institute
for ethnological
Research 2nd BA, Halle

After ksg already implemented the first construction phase of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in 2001, the architects were commissioned with the construction of the 4-storey extension building in 2013. The festive ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the institute building took place on 19 May 2015..


Building Owner: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V., München
GFA: 1.267 m²
Dates: 2015 – 2016
Direct Commission

The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology has been based in Halle since 1999. It is one of the internationally leading research centres in the field of ethnology (social anthropology). After kister scheithauer gross architekten already implemented the first construction phase of the conversion and new building project, the architects were commissioned with the construction of the 4-storey annex building with a bridge connecting to the existing building in 2013. A usable floor area of 650 m² was realised on a gross floor area of 1,200 m². The planned uses include classic offices and meeting rooms with the associated secondary and storage rooms. The basis for the concept are the approved room schedule as well as three themes particularly emphasised by the user: the connection to the existing building, the integration of the annexe into the urban context without forming a new address as well as the orientation of the building towards an inward communicative centre.

The design of the extension building partly relates to the design of the old building and of the first construction phase, but also reinterprets them in a new way. As a result, the annex building appears much more solid than the transparent volume of the first construction stage and rather opens up towards the interior. The basic design motif for the façade is the image of early graphic characters. This image was dissolved into its basic structures and translated into inclined panels, which correspond with the window areas in an even rhythm. The single panel strips are arranged as “lines” so that the storeys of the three levels are clearly recognisable. The panels are made of dark coloured fibreglass-reinforced concrete elements allowing the extension building to relate to the building implemented in first construction stage in terms of colour. “The second construction phase is a beautifully proportioned building with a façade, which will seem to unfold and generate a vivid play of shadows”, Prof. Johannes Kister explains the design.

In the interior, offices are grouped around a small void on three levels. This void with adjoining secondary rooms and a central staircase is the communicative focal point of the annex building and simultaneously the common area for the employees. The seminar room is located on the first floor and occupies the entire south side of the building. During the breaks, visitors can use the roof terrace on top of the underground d car park as well as the atrium.