• Location:
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • Client:
  • LIFE Hamburg
  • Status:
  • Feasibility Study; construction due 2023
  • SIze:
  • 12,000 sqm
  • Partners:
  • Cityplot; sbp; Transsolar


Caves, waterholes and campfires. These are the diverse spaces for intergenerational learning in a new purpose-built campus in Hamburg, Germany.

LAVA joined forces with urban agricultural collective Cityplot to design LIFE Hamburg, a figure eight-shaped building of three levels that is energy self-sufficient, and brings inside and outside together into one continuous landscape.

Based on purpose-inspired and personal learning a new type of landscape building will reinvent learning for 800 children and 800 adults, planned to open in 2023.

LAVA’s design enables optimal conditions for lifelong learning: connection to outdoors, integration of green spaces, Variety and diversity of zones, fresh air and daylight, unobtrusive technical support and flexibility.

Spaces with different levels of brightness, openness, plantings and connections to the exterior include expressive spaces (mountain top); communicative environments for conversations with peers (watering hole); hands-on study spaces for applied learning (sandpit); group spaces for lectures (campfire); and introverted spaces for quiet reflection (cave).

The organic-shaped building features a central agora housing core facilities, canteen and sports area, and links, via spacious staircases, the two parts of the building. Split-levels and connecting staircases allow flexible uses within the three-dimensional system, both vertically and horizontally.

The design is inspired by five elements in nature - waves, spirals, cells, branches and nests - and is applied to layouts, structural systems, ceilings and plantings.


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Design: Toko / Development: Damien Aistrope