· Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

“A house for the 21th century“

Climate research in Potsdam will get a new home. Adjacent to the historic main buildings of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) dating from the 19th century, a new energy-optimized building will come into existence.

A new milestone for PIK

“Next to Potsdam’s famous research buildings like the Einstein tower and the Royal Observatory for Astrophysics, we are putting future-looking architecture into place,” says PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber on the occasion of the foundation stone ceremony this wednesday.

The Telegrafenberg is a unique place of science history, and being able to work in its buildings is an honour, he points out. And now he can justifyably say: “We are building a house for the 21st century”.

Enormous heat waste

The modern wooden front and the ground plan resembling a clover leaf are intended to make the building appear less massive and make it blend into the trees on Telegrafenberg, so the ensemble of historic buildings is not affected.

In the building itself, which is funded by Brandenburg and the Federal Government to the amount of 17 million euros, innovative technology is being put in place. For instance, the enormous waste heat of the high-performance computer used for climate simulations will be utilized.

For the insulation of the outer walls different materials are used that will be monitored regarding their long-term efficiency by the Technical University Dresden. “Used by scientists, this building is itself a kind of inhabitable object of research,” says Schellnhuber.

He deliberately decided to combine the foundation stone ceremony with the anniversary celebration for PIK’s 20th birthday - the focus is on the future instead of the past. Schellnhuber expressed gratitude for the congratulations from important companions of the institute that came in over the last few days.

Messages from important people

 “With their excellent research, PIK scientists create a sound knowledge base for decisions in politics and economy,” says Annette Schavan, Federal Minister of Education and Research. “I wish PIK a further strengthening of its outstanding position.”

The Minister President of the German federal state of Brandenburg, Matthias Platzeck, said: “The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research plays an essential role in sharpening society’s awareness of the consequences that actions can have on the climate of our one world.” Therefore it had become an indispensable part of the research landscape not just of Brandenburg but international science as well.  

Important expanding for the community and the world

An example for this would be research results connecting extreme weather events with human-induced climate change, Nobel Prize Laureate for Chemistry Mario Molina wrote: “The contributions of the institute have been truly impressive and of great importance for our community, for climate change science as well as for climate change policy”.

Born in Mexico, Molina is Professor at the University of California in San Diego. Nicholas Stern from the London School of Economics highlighted “the ability to bring together world class researchers from many different disciplines to tackle a defining issue of our century, climate change” as a strength of PIK.

So it is not only the architecture that makes the new building a “house for the 21th century”. It is the work of the roughly 190 climate scientists who will be moving in in 2014, too.

Go to Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

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