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Foundation Stone Laid at Freie Universität Berlin for New Research Building, SupraFAB

Joint Press Release Issued by Berlin Senate and Freie Universität Berlin

№ 227/2018 from Sep 05, 2018

On Wednesday a foundation stone was laid at Altensteinstraße 23A for a new research building at Freie Universität Berlin. The building project is called SupraFAB, which stands for Supramolecular Functional Architectures on Biointerfaces. The ceremony was attended by the Berlin Senator for Urban Development and Housing, Katrin Lompscher, the Berlin Permanent Secretary for Higher Education and Research, Steffen Krach, and the president of Freie Universität Berlin, Prof. Günter M. Ziegler. Construction of the building began in May 2018. Overall, construction is on schedule, and completion is expected in 2020.

According to Senator Katrin Lompscher, the foundation stone represents a milestone in this technically highly demanding construction project. She says it marks an important step for cutting-edge research at Freie Universität Berlin in the field of chemistry, while at the same time contributing to the sustainable use of resources and protection of the environment. The officials are aiming for a silver certification in the German government’s sustainable building evaluation system called Bewertungssystem Nachhaltiges Bauen (BNB) for this building. Efficient heat recovery, air conditioning using natural coolants, extensive green roofs, and the use of resource-saving concrete for the ceilings are all in the plans.

The president of Freie Universität Berlin, Professor Günter M. Ziegler, notes that this new building will facilitate networking of interdisciplinary cutting-edge research in the nanosciences on the main research campus of Freie Universität in Berlin-Dahlem. It will give researchers in the involved disciplines of biology, chemistry, pharmacy, and physics access to highly specialized laboratories and low-vibration, precisely air-conditioned measuring rooms. The designated spokespersons are physicist Prof. Dr. Stephanie Reich and chemist Prof. Dr. Rainer Haag, who have been co-chairing the NanoScale Focus Area of Freie Universität since 2009.

The construction project is estimated at 41.15 million euros in the Berlin state budget. The German federal government will contribute up to 18.79 million euros of that amount as part its promotion of higher education.

In the new building scientists will investigate the mechanisms of action and function of complex protein molecules on cell surfaces using nanophysical methods. The direct linkage of the synthesis of supramolecular architectures with tailored biointerfaces is a unique feature. This serves to generate novel functional systems and to analyze complex biomembrane processes, which should enable a comprehensive understanding of complex biological interface processes such as virus-cell interactions.

The highly specialized facilities and equipment to be housed in the new SupraFAB building are not currently available at Freie Universität. The large-scale equipment, which has been proposed, is particularly important because in addition to providing access to super-resolution microscopy methods, it would enable novel methods for combining time-resolved imaging and spectroscopic methods. These pioneering methods are to be supplemented by interface analytical methods and equipment for nanostructured surfaces.

Following an EU-wide, two-stage bidding process, the university set up a consortium in early 2016 consisting of Nickl & Partner (building construction), Inros Lackner (supporting structure, technical equipment), and Hager & Partner (open-air installations) to complete the project.

The new building is being constructed directly adjacent to the buildings of the Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy on Takustraße, which will soon be renovated and rebuilt, and the Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB).

More Information and Interview Requests

  • Prof. Dr. Rainer Haag, Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Freie Universität Berlin; (spokesperson for the SupraFAB building project); Tel.: +49 30 838-52633, Email: haag@chemie.fu-berlin.de
  • Prof. Dr. Stephanie Reich, Department of Physics, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-56232, Email: stephanie.reich@physik.fu-berlin.de
  • Achim Wiedekind, Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Freie Universität Berlin, Coordinator of the NanoScale Focus Area, Tel.: +49 30 838-55462, Email: achim.wiedekind@fu-berlin.de