Press Release

ZEISS unveils result of architectural competition for its new high-tech site in Jena

10 October 2018

  • Further expansion of ZEISS' founding location to create a leading site for innovation
  • Architectural concept aligned with tomorrow's work environment – ZEISS will be a visibly networked company
  • ZEISS site will also be accessible to city residents and promote the exchange of ideas between science and industry
  • Modern, cutting-edge complex will complement the city's architecture
Jena, Germany | 10 October 2018 | Corporate News
Today, ZEISS unveiled the result of the architectural competition for its new high-tech site in Jena. The goal is to create a high-tech complex at the company's original site, whose modern and networked design integrates all the necessary functions for ZEISS and will also accommodate the work environments of the future. At the same time, the space will be as open and flexible as possible to ensure not only optimum discussions and cooperation, but also networking with a city focused on research and science.
"This design depicts ZEISS as a vibrant, well-integrated company that also stands for openness and networking. We wanted the new complex to be open, modern and flexible, and we believe the structure of this building, the surface design and the visual language bring these attributes to life. Scalability and flexibility that will ensure good working conditions for the next 30 years and beyond are also integral parts of the design," says Prof. Dr. Michael Kaschke, President & CEO of Carl Zeiss AG. "This new building will be a visible sign that ZEISS' founding location is a leading site for innovation. I am convinced that it will fit harmoniously into the urban surroundings of Jena and the natural environment, rather than dominating or clashing with the landscape."
Dr. Thomas Nitzsche, the Mayor of the city of Jena, added: "This extremely inviting design embodies modernity and independence, while still integrating the complex into the broader cityscape and the architecturally challenging topography. The new building from ZEISS will be a powerful reminder that Jena is focused on its future as a research, science and economic powerhouse."
Since the beginning, ZEISS has been in constant close contact with the State of Thuringia and the city of Jena during the planning stages for this building. The final decision was preceded by an urban-planning ideas competition. Five architecture firms active throughout the world took part. The architecture firm Nething, headquartered in Neu-Ulm with additional offices in Leipzig and Berlin, won.
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Kaschke; President & CEO of Carl Zeiss AG and Dr. Thomas Nitzsche; Mayor of the city of Jena (from left), unveiled the result from the architectural competition for ZEISS' new high-tech site in Jena.
  • The architectural concept for ZEISS' new high-tech site

    The architectural concept for ZEISS' new high-tech site is aligned with the work environments of the future. The building materials and the use of prism shapes and lines resembling beam paths reflect ZEISS' history and brand values: precision, innovation, transparency and modernity.

Details on the architectural design

The architectural concept reflects the technology leader's requirements and its corporate culture

The high-tech complex is distinguished by a networked architectural design that is also flexible and scalable. The structure will be divided into two ground floors integrated into the slope of the hill for production, labs and infrastructure and extends seven stories upwards. Office space will be located in the upper parts of the building which form a series of networked spaces extending in all directions. Two covered atria go from the upper roof level all the way to the ground floor, allowing plenty of light to reach all functional areas. These different, interconnecting levels will provide open, highly visible spaces for communication.

Dynamic forms, the building materials and the use of prism shapes and lines resembling beam paths reflect ZEISS' history and brand values: precision, innovation, transparency and modernity. The facades consist of white-coated metal with large glass windows. The greenery on the roofs and the similarly designed outdoor spaces create a close connection between the building and the natural landscape of the river valley. In spite of the building's height, it will fit organically into the landscape and the adjacent residential and industrial areas.

An integrated event forum with a large venue for 500 to 750 people will be available to the city as well as external institutions and partners. This event space has the potential to strengthen Jena's national reputation as a city for meetings and conferences in the areas of science, teaching and business. ZEISS is already discussing this with the city of Jena and its research institutions.

ZEISS is focusing in particular on creating a healthy growth environment for young companies and spin-offs at the new site.

Formidable technical requirements, topography and the site's close proximity to the city center shaped the exterior design

The architectural design will impress visitors to Jena looking at the complex from a distance. The new building will be constructed directly on the train line and within sight of the train station Jena West, making this an important component in the city's modern mobility strategy. Thanks to the slope of the hill, the open space offers sweeping views over Jena, the city center and the mountains in the distance. A modern, ecological and city-friendly transportation concept is being developed that will included greater use of local public transportation and bikes, while also supporting e-bikes and e-mobility.

Contribution to the joint development of the industrial areas of Jena

ZEISS has purchased factory premises from SCHOTT that were partially unused. Energy-efficient buildings will be constructed within this area comprising around 80,000 square meters. These will support a new infrastructure and a more modern work environment at ZEISS.

Two listed brick buildings in the Otto-Schott-Strasse will be preserved. As part of the plan, they will be restored and integrated in the new site. The current Jena sites will all be housed in the state-of-the-art building, which is scheduled to be completed by 2023.

The State Development Corporation of Thuringia will continue to develop the old ZEISS premises at the current site in Lichtenhain. This location will offer excellent opportunities for other companies, institutions and spin-offs in the near future. These efforts are directly connected with the city's development plans that will also address the current shortage of space for industry.

ZEISS plans to continue this close cooperation with the city of Jena. At the moment, the two are working especially hard on connections to public transport, parking areas and the energy concept. As an adjacent neighbor, the company SCHOTT is also involved.

With this investment, ZEISS is continuing its strategic global investment and growth trajectory. For ZEISS, Jena will remain one of the top sites for innovation. The units within the ZEISS Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology, Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology segments, Corporate Research & Technology and the Shared Production Unit of the ZEISS Group will move into the new, integrated high-tech site. The building is designed to accommodate up to 2,500 employees.

The plan is to forge even closer ties to science, teaching and local industry


Further information:

Press contact Jörg Nitschke Head of Corporate Brand and Communications ZEISS Group
Press contact Katja Kretzschmar Corporate Communications Nething


ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. The ZEISS Group develops, produces and distributes measuring technology, microscopes, medical technology, eyeglass lenses, camera and cinema lenses, binoculars and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. With its solutions, the company constantly advances the world of optics and helps shape technological progress. ZEISS is divided up into the four segments Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology, Consumer Markets and Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology. The ZEISS Group is represented in more than 40 countries and has over 50 sales and service locations, more than 30 manufacturing sites and about 25 research and development centers around the globe.

In fiscal year 2016/17 the company generated revenue approximating €5.3 billion with around 27,000 employees. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. Carl Zeiss AG is the strategic management holding company that manages the ZEISS Group. The company is wholly owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation).

Further information at

About Nething

Nething is an independent, owner-operated architecture firm with 80 employees and more than five decades of experience in planning, building and consulting. The firm focuses on industrial, office and residential buildings in conjunction with interior architecture and site development. The company headquarters are in Neu-Ulm, with additional offices in Leipzig and Berlin. Founded in 1967 by Frieder Nething in Ulm, today the architecture firm is managed by Axel Nething and Michael Keller. As a member of the Nething Group, the company has access to 170 specialists from a wide range of disciplines related to structural design.

Further information at

Press photos

  • new high-tech site: presenting the results

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