University Given Go-Ahead for New Buildings in Friedrichspark

This March, Mannheim Council approved plans for three new university buildings in Friedrichspark. There was strong cross-party support for the project both at the full council meeting and at the preliminary executive committee meeting, with only two dissenting votes.

If the University of Mannheim is to continue to compete with the world’s top universities, it will need a great deal more space for teaching and research. The university is already running at the limits of its capacity. By 2026, when the planned refurbishment of the Ostflügel of the Schloss is due to begin, around 20 lecture halls and seminar rooms will become unavailable and whole departments will need to be relocated. 

The new buildings in Friedrichspark, along Bismarckstraße, are intended to provide more space for teaching and research and to create a link between the Schloss Campus and Campus West in A5 and B6. The university also sees the building project as a great opportunity to improve Friedrichspark and make it more attractive to local residents, students, and university staff. Demolishing the old ice hockey rink will open up a lot more space in the park and allow it to be relandscaped. “The new development plan will also have environmental benefits for the park. For instance, the buildings will have living walls, there will be more space between them, and less of the land will be built over,” explains Dr. Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim. 

“We’re delighted we have planning permission for the urgently needed buildings in Friedrichspark, as we’re working on a very tight schedule in the run-up to 2026 and need to get moving,” adds Professor Thomas Puhl, President of the University of Mannheim. “We’re especially pleased by the broad cross-party support, which acknowledges how crucial the project is for the university. It also shows that our willingness to compromise in the planning process was appreciated. Moving forward, we’ll be working on an attractive design for the park that will make it a more pleasant place for Mannheim locals and our staff and students to spend time, just like it used to be.” 

Text: Linda Schädler / October 2022