A new circular building for CERN, surrounded by greenery

Henning Larsen and Ramboll won the competition to design B777, the new building of the prestigious research center, located on the border between France and Switzerland near Geneva.

The winner of the design competition for the new B777 building at the prestigious CERN research center has been announced: the collaboration of European firms Henning Larsen and Ramboll has translated into a design integrating science and nature, with architecture using biogenic materials and low-carbon methods to reimagine traditional laboratory environments. 

Located on the French-Swiss border at CERN’s Prévessin Campus, the building is defined by a circular floor plan, developed around a central courtyard, with offices, laboratories and workshop spaces that constantly open their wooden walls to an interaction with nature.

Henning Larsen and Ramboll, B777, Prévessin, France. Courtesy Henning Larsen

Echoing CERN’s philosophy of scientific unity, the design emphasizes interconnectedness and openness. A spacious public atrium spans four floors and serves as a hub for informal meetings and knowledge exchange. Flexible floors and dedicated community areas further promote interaction, complemented by outdoor spaces and lounge areas. Henning Larsen’s vision for B777 encapsulates CERN’s legacy of collaborative discovery, providing a space where researchers and guests can engage with nature and each other in the pursuit of knowledge.

The building’s design prioritizes embedded and operational carbon reduction, assessing environmental impact through life cycle analysis. Structural materials were chosen with reuse and recycling potential in mind, using simple, demountable and mechanical connections to facilitate disassembly. The building’s three-dimensional facade is optimized to maximize natural light and views while providing self-darkening to reduce solar radiation, thereby reducing energy consumption for cooling.

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