A place of scientific study and aesthetic beauty

Leopoldina, Halle an der Saale

Deutsche Werkstätten services:
Outfitting of interiors with loose furniture

Completion 2012


Even those with no particular affinity to science might find their interest (or their imagination) piqued by these striking premises: what would it be like to be inspired by these spaces every single day – if not scientifically then at least aesthetically? The building in question is the new headquarters of the German National Academy of Sciences, known as the Leopoldina, in Halle an der Saale.
At its official opening in May 2012, the academy’s president Professor Jörg Hacker emphasised that today’s Leopoldina is no longer just an association of academics but a working institute, a transition that is also reflected in the newly renovated building. The faithful restoration of the 17th century structure (led by the Leipzig office of RKW Rhode Kellermann Wawrowsky) retained the existing internal layout and even restored the original colour schemes in some of the rooms. The facilities include a large first floor banqueting hall for international conferences or events with space for up to 380 guests, while the 170-seat lecture theatre and the various seminar rooms are used for symposia and public lectures. Deutsche Werkstätten was tasked with furnishing the two large halls and the study rooms, as well as the directors’ offices and the impressive historic conference room. For the large halls alone, some 650 examples of the same classic Castelli chair were made. “Finasoft” conference chairs by Brunner were chosen for the conference room, and the general secretary’s office now has furniture by Leuwico. Professor Hacker, meanwhile, gained a specially made desk.
In 2008, the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina was given the official title of National Academy of Sciences. Working independently of economic and political interests, the academy addresses issues of particular significance to the future of society, shares its scientific findings with policymakers and the public, and debates these findings on the national and international stage. Established in Schweinfurt in 1652, the Leopoldina is the world’s oldest continuously existing academy for medicine and the natural sciences. The 7,000 distinguished academics and scientists who have been selected for membership since the academy’s foundation include Marie Curie, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Alexander von Humboldt, Justus von Liebig and Max Planck.

Text: Deutsche Werkstätten
Photo: Gunter Binsack