European Southern Observatory

Linear aesthetics - convex and concave

The administrative centre of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Garching near Munich was constructed by Hermann Fehling and Daniel Gogel between1976 and 1980. An extension was needed. The curving, dipping contours of the new building designed by architect Auer Weber meander around the building. Three circular building sections are enclosed by a wavy-lined façade.

European Southern Observatory - Simonswerk GmbH
European Southern Observatory - Simonswerk GmbH


A uniform colour and design language

On 4 December 2013, the extension of the ESO headquarters was inaugurated. With two new buildings – an office building with 10,300 sq m and a technology building with 2,900 sq m – there is now more than double as much space as before. The new structural form was designed specifically with the principle of continued building in mind. To visually differentiate between the building sections, different façade structures and finishing textures were used,


while uniform colour connects the sections to create a cohesive entity. In addition, the design language of the existing main building is used for the new administrative building, which, based on circular segments, appears to hover without supports above the landscape. The architectural concept has received much recognition and was not without reason selected as one of the 24 best constructions in Germany in 2014 by the German Architecture Museum.

European Southern Observatory - Simonswerk GmbH

A well-conceived concept on both large and small scales

The new buildings are in keeping with the style of the old buildings. With its two inner courtyards, the office building, which for the most part receives natural lighting, echoes the curved design. At 39 metres, the diameter of the cylindrical technology building corresponds more or less to the primary mirror of the European Extremely Large Telescope – currently being built, the ESO telescope will be the world's largest telescope.

Thanks to good insulation and concrete core cooling used to heat and cool the office building, the new buildings are categorised as green buildings, because their energy consumption falls significantly below the average for buildings of this size. The interior design of the building was not left to chance either. SIMONSWERK door hinges were among the products selected and used.


A built-in hinge system: VARIANT VX

With its elegant appearance and high technical standards, the universal hinge system for heavy-duty doors, VARIANT VX, is a perfect match for the décor of the new ESO building. The integral unit comprising hinge, receiver and cover provides tried-and-tested safety thanks to its CE certification. Its load capacities of up to 400 kg, as well as its three-dimensional adjustment and maintenance-free slide bearing technology make this hinge system an excellent solution. In Garching, VX 7729/160 for unrebated doors was chosen. VARIANT VX hinge systems are aesthetically pleasing and functional, and are particularly suited for use on fire or smoke resistant doors, on doors used in escape or rescue routes, as well as on doors with extremely high load capacities.