A new building fulfilling the most modern standards was built over the last three years, located to the north of the old student cafeteria, which after 40 years had long exceeded its planned service life. The construction costs amounted to approximately 45 million euros.
The new building not only provides more space, it will also consume significantly less energy. New dishwashing machines have made it possible to replace the traditional cafeteria trays with china plates. The newly designed food counters allow a greatly increased variety of food: salad bars, a vegetable bar, soup station, grill counter, pizza window, pasta and wok counters and many vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Designed by the Munich architectural firm Meck Architekten GmbH, the two-story, square building features a large interior courtyard and approximately 5300 square meters of utilizable floor space; it houses 1750 seats in the student cafeteria in addition to a smaller cafeteria. Entrances and the smaller cafeteria are on the ground floor, with the 2740 square meter dining hall and kitchen located upstairs.
The Garching research campus success story
When the Garching student cafeteria went into operation in 1978, there were only 2000 students on the campus at the time, primarily in the two faculties Chemistry and Physics. After a long lull in construction activities, it was not until the middle of the 1990s that the intensive growth phase began which has lasted until the present. Today approximately 17,000 students and around 7000 employees come to the campus every day.
A modern campus complex rapidly took shape, including the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics and Informatics, the Walter Schottky Institute for Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials, the Research Neutron Source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II), the TUM School of BioEngineering, the Catalysis Research Center, the Bavarian NMR Center, the Center for Advanced Laser Applications, the TUM Center for Protein Assemblies, the Research Center for Energy and Information (ZEI), the TUM Institute for Advanced Study, the TUM Graduate School, the TUM Entrepreneurship Center, two lecture hall complexes as well as the StudiTUM building.
The GALILEO building complex will also be opened for operation on September 17, another important milestone in the development of the campus. The first building in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is already under construction; its move to Garching will mean not only scientific synergy effects but will also bring another 5000 students on the campus. Future plans include another food facility there which is to be supplied by the new "Mensa" student cafeteria.
First-class cafeteria for cutting-edge research
"The impressive facilities and widely varied service range of the new Mensa student cafeteria reflect the communicative and productive environment at the Garching campus. It is the new heart of this innovative science location," Bavarian Minister of Science and Art Bernd Sibler said at the opening ceremonies. "The approximately 45 million euros in Bavarian State funding for the new construction are a very good investment. They mean a substantial improvement in studying and working conditions on the campus for our students, scientists and everyone else associated with TUM." He added that the State of Bavaria is continuing to make enormous investments in its universities, including in areas of social infrastructure: "A comfortable working environment promotes the success of the efforts of the individual. This is why we make sure that the basic conditions are the way they should be!"
"In its day, the old student cafeteria was a structure with spacious dimensions; no one could have expected the intense growth our university has underdone," said TUM President Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann. "Now, however, we have to provide food for a densely populated campus whose population is ten times greater than it was 40 years ago and which continues to grow today." He added that the State of Bavaria, together with TUM, has performed one feat of strength after another in creating an internationally first-class campus structure – with construction investments that will soon exceed two billion euros. "The new Mensa is a crowning achievement of this development, in terms of both architecture and practical logistics."
"This new Mensa student cafeteria in Garching is up to the latest state of the art," said Dr. Ursula Wurzer-Faßnacht, Director of the Munich Student Union. "The university gastronomy section of the Munich Student Union is pleased to immediately begin operating this modern facility in order to offer its guests high-quality foods in a stylish and modern atmosphere."