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A ‘Non-Building’ Concept for World-Class Research

European Spallation Source Research Center Design Competition
Lund, Sweden

The European Spallation Source will be the world’s leading neutron spallation source research center.

The design creates a landmark home for ESS that significantly enhances the Lund region’s position as a center for world-class research.

Planned to be one of the world’s largest and most advanced science infrastructure projects, the ESS must accommodate up to 5,000 European researchers. The program includes a 600-meter-long linear proton accelerator building, a heavy-metal target station, state-of-the-art neutron instruments, a central lab, an office building, a lecture hall, and a supercomputing data management and software development center.

The “Green Splash” concept developed by the BIG/HOK consortium was one of two initial winners in the international design competition.

Shaped by the physics of neutron spallation, the ESS becomes a continuous building form that promotes interaction and collaboration. Close connections between laboratories, research spaces and instruments, as well as the proximity to the Science Village, create the ideal physical environment for conducting research and sharing ideas. The various arms of the structure house offices, conference areas, laboratories, a small hotel and other support facilities. The landscape flows over the buildings that house the various functions, effectively making it a “non-building.” Most of the site provides a park-like setting that is open to the public.


1.33 million sq. ft. / 124,000 sq. m.




AIA St. Louis - Honor Award Unbuilt


Number of researchers the ESS design can accommodate



22 June 2012
“Brits Among Finalists for Swedish Super-Lab”
Architect’s Journal

19 June 2012
“5 Teams Compete for European Spallation Source Centre in Southern Sweden”
World Architecture News