Von Roll site


Vonroll Areal
Vonroll Areal 2
Vonroll Areal 3
Vonroll Areal 4

Soul of the past and spirit of the future

Iron founders, steel constructors and bankers used to work in the halls of the Von Roll company on the northern outskirts of Berne. Since the closure of the industrial plant, the historic site has gradually been used for other purposes. The site is now populated by knowledge producers from the University of Berne and the Teachers’ College. In the institutional building completed by HRS Real Estate in 2013, there is plenty of room for 4,500 students and 850 employees to learn, teach and work.
The compact, clearly structured building with its clinker brick façade and large windows takes up the design of the former industrial area. HRS used a total of 140,000 bricks for the façade – an impressive number. The design highlight is the open access library. The light-flooded room offers shelf space for up to 130,000 books and has 400 reading places. Below, on the third basement level is the central storage of the university library. Approximately four million books from the 15th to 20th centuries are stored on shelves with a total length of 80 kilometres. Topics such as temperature, filtered ventilation and optimum humidity placed high demands on the rooms and their technical equipment during the design and implementation phases.

On schedule to start the new semester

The new construction of the institute building did not materialise without a few teething problems. As the former general contractor had run into payment difficulties and its contract had been terminated, HRS had to step into the void in the middle of the construction phase. It was not an easy task for HRS to suddenly take over the general contractor for a major project two years after the foundation stone had been laid. The smooth takeover meant redefining the status quo, training the team and revising and negotiating existing contracts. However, the formulation of target and quality specifications was also extremely important. Thanks to the hard work of all those involved, HRS was able to guarantee deadlines, costs and quality.


Office for Land and Buildings of the Canton of Berne

giuliani.hönger ag and Spreng + Partner Architekten AG

Plot size
19,469 sqm

Total cost
approx. CHF 130 million

Construction period
2010 – 2013


HRS Real Estate AG
Feldstrasse 30
3073 Gümligen

+41 58 122 86 00

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