MPA new building now officially opened

In April, the keys to the extension building of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics were officially handed over to its new owners. This building will provide not only new offices for the administration and IT staff, the MPA also receives a new, large conference room and state-of-the-art computer rooms for its IT infrastructure. Additionally, a dome with a small telescope is installed on the roof, which will be used mainly for training of young astronomers.

Fig. 1: The new MPA extension building. Even though the MPA is mainly focused on theory, the telescope on the roof offers students first-hand experience with astronomical observations.
(c) H.-A. Arnolds, MPA

Fig. 2: The new seminar room provides ample space for conferences, lectures and other events.
(c) H.-A. Arnolds, MPA

Fig. 3: The staircase connects three buildings: the new building and the existing MPA and MPE buildings. Interesting insights and perspectives open up because of the various levels. The artistic design and astronomical decoration of the staircase is still pending - suggestions are welcome!
(c) H.-A. Arnolds, MPA

Built in the 1970s, the MPA building has now been extended: in the past 20 months a new wing was constructed on the open area between the MPA and the adjacent MPE. The new building contains more than 1600 square metres.

The staircase posed a special challenge, as three buildings with different levels had to be connected. Jokingly compared to "Escher" stairs, it will probably take some time until everybody finds their way. The open structure provides interesting perspectives. Due to the nested architecture, the staircase now includes a high, triangular free space that still needs to be filled. A sturdy hook on the ceiling makes it possible to suspend even a large object, extended wall areas could be filled by astronomical images. Ideas for the design of the open space are gladly accepted!

The new, light-filled conference room with a size of 200 square metres accommodates up to 120 people. Equipped with projector, screen, and two traditional black boards, the room can be used for lectures, but can also be adapted to other events due to the variable seating. Once the exterior is finished, it will also be possible to go outside and enjoy the garden area.

Above the conference room are two floors with offices, where the computer (1st floor) and the administration staff (1st & 2nd floor) of MPA and MPE will find their new residences. In the basement, two computer rooms are located with an area of 150 square metres, which are also shared by MPA and MPE. Thus the IT departments of the two neighbouring institutions move closer together.

On the roof, in collaboration with the Technical University Munich and the Excellence Cluster Universe, a dome was installed containing a 60cm telescope. Among other uses, students completing their lab practical will be able to perform observations on their own.