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21 July 2004

Extension of the University of Heidelberg Guest House — "A Fantastic View of the Neckar Valley"

Topping-out ceremony on 23 July — Work on the guest house on Neuenheimer Feld campus has gone smoothly — The 62 new apartments needed to accommodate visiting academics

The first sod on the building site for the extension of the guest house for visiting academics on Neuenheimer Feld campus was turned last October. Since then work has progressed smoothly and the topping-out ceremony is scheduled for 12 a.m. on July 23.

If all goes well, the interior of the building will be completed by autumn 2005. "We're very happy with the way things have gone," said Rolf Stroux, building director of the University Construction Office. "It's all going according to plan and the costs are still within the bounds originally laid down for them." The extension is necessary because the 83 apartments of the original guest house dating from 1997 are no longer adequate to cater for demand. Accordingly, so as to remain attractive for international guests and their families, the University decided to add an extension. Foreign visitors obviously feel very much at home on the campus and the proximity of the guest house to university institutes, hospitals and non-university institutions like the German Cancer Research Centre make it attractive for academics from all Faculties. An additional asset is the convenience of local transport to the old part of the town.

The guest house is maintained by the Unterländer Study Fund, a non-profit public-law foundation at the University of Heidelberg. The UstF-Unterländer Study Fund GmbH, a daughter of the Foundation, is the building sponsor for the extension. The interior of the building is planned for completion in autumn 2005, thus providing 62 new apartments. They come in different sizes, ranging from one-, two- and three-room flats to maisonettes. "The upper floors have a magnificent view of the Neckar valley and Heidelberg Castle," enthuses Dietmar Erhard, the architect in charge of the extension. Some of the apartments are variable in size. If relatives come to visit, additional rooms can be incorporated. Guests have access to the International Encounter Centre of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, located in the original guest house. The Encounter Centre provides opportunities for activities like birthday parties.

Three units on the ground floor are to be rented to commercial enterprises, thus continuing with the plan of incorporating infrastructural elements into the buildings themselves. There will also be an Italian espresso bar and a greengrocer's shop. A parking level provides the necessary space for cars. The project is in the hands of Heidelberg architects Hübner and Erhard. The University Construction Office provides expert advice and sees the new building very much in terms of its place in the urban landscape. "We wanted the high-rise building to represent a striking landmark," says Stroux. The nine-storey building is located on the north-south axis between the river and the university restaurant. "The second stage of the construction ties in harmoniously with the first," says Stroux, "and constitutes a unified element in the overall urban picture."

The funding for the extension comes from a variety of sources. First, the other University guest house in the Schlierbach district has been sold by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The building dates from the 1960s and no longer lives up to the standards required today. In addition, it is difficult to get to and would have to be renovated at considerable cost. The state government has undertaken to contribute half of the revenue from the sale to help defray the costs of the new extension. Further resources are provided by the Volkswagen Foundation. Also, 12 apartments have been sold to University institutions like the Hospital Complex.

The topping-out ceremony for the extension is scheduled for 12 a.m. on 23 July at the building site itself (Im Neuenheimer Feld 370). Professor Dr. Peter Hommelhoff, Rector of the University and chairman of the supervisory board of UstF-Unterländer Study Fund GmbH, will deliver the welcoming address. There will be further speeches by Rolf Stroux, building director of the University Construction Office, and Dietmar Erhard, the architect in charge of the project. This will be followed by the topping-out ceremony, rounded off by a light lunch.
Jochen Schlabing

Please address any inquiries on the extension itself to
Hübner + Erhard and Partners
Dietmar Erhard
Kaiserstrasse 48
D-69115 Heidelberg
phone: 06221/974720

(for journalists)
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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