Student Service Center in Cologne

A successful mixture of cubic architecture and strong concrete accents.

The one would not work without the other. The authentic concrete surfaces in the foyer stand in a stimulating contrast to the modern interior design. A great effect is achieved by simple neon tubes arranged in a selected, rectangular grid on the concrete ceiling. The plastic floor shines cleanly and brightly through the concrete supports standing on it. The square wall cladding panels are interrupted by hand-sized, almost random cut-outs, which contrast with the full-surface concrete ceiling, which was also arranged in a square panel grid.

The quality of the concrete components plays a major role in this interplay of futuristic light, color and form with the unadulterated concrete. The concrete should look like concrete with its iridescent gray tones and the typical concrete look. If it is too perfect, it does not form a sufficient counterpart to the artificial materials. If the surface of the concrete is too coarse, or if details in the concrete, such as anchor points and formwork joints are unclean or silted up, the ratio tilts. This creates the impression of “intended and not accomplished”.

The company carrying out the construction work has succeeded in producing the concrete components with high quality craftsmanship and maintaining the characteristics of the concrete. One reason for this success is the focus on the details. An example of this is the clamping points, which, together with the MARO® sleeve cones located deep in the back, form a precise center point in the formwork panels. The anchor points were closed with a “free-floating” concrete cone. Since the cone is only fixed in the low-lying tensioning tube, it is apparently without edge adhesion, as if the cone were floating freely.

It is precisely these “eye catchers” that make clear to the viewer the great meticulousness with which the concrete surfaces are created.

Exposed concrete elements
free floating concrete cone


University of Cologne, The Chancellor