IGZ Innovation and Start-Up Centre

Do you(r) LIKE IT -
How to design space for new ideas?

Typology Office Built volume GFA total 5,420m², GIV 19,800m³ Client Cologne University Foundation Occupant Exzellenz Start-up Center GATEWAY (Start-up Service at the University of Cologne) Completion 2019-2023 Feasibility study 2019




#Innovation and Start-up Centre at the University of Cologne

Through a variety of spatial solutions, the flexible office space is an environment that encourages creative exchange, appropriation and cooperation between start-ups, the university and existing businesses.

The new Innovation and Start-up Centre IGZ is being developed on the university grounds at Weyertal in Cologne. Designed as a five storey solitaire, the building responds to the heterogeneous urban fabric of the built environment. The angular volume adopts the heights of the surrounding structures and reacts to the neighbouring buildings with large window openings, entrances, recessed and projecting elements.
Alongside the main entrance area with the reception, the ground floor accommodates a cafeteria and two different sized meeting rooms, which can be connected to form a single large auditorium or exhibition area. The open-plan work landscape and private offices on the upper levels create a flexible environment for the development and realisation of innovative ideas. Roof terraces and exterior space offer opportunities to communicate and work outdoors. The varied space is complemented by two double-level lounge areas – the so-called LIKE ITs. They provide a pleasant atmosphere to not only relax with coffee and snacks but also to work, meet and present ideas in a more informal setting.
These open spaces at ground floor level and above the main entrance appear like large display windows in the facade with its vertical aluminium strip cladding.

The expression LIKE IT is an acronym made up of the German words:
L ümmeln (linger)
I nspirieren (inspire)
K ommunizieren (communicate)
E rleben (experience)
I nformieren (inform)
T reffen (meet)

The large glass windows of the LIKE ITs ensure that the activities taking place inside the building are visible in the urban realm and are thus a part of life on campus.

The flexible work stations located under a single roof are available for founders, young entrepreneurs and start-up-related service providers, as well as GATEWAY ESC, the Start-up Service at the University of Cologne.

The concept of the work space in the interior was developed in workshops together with student founders involved in start-ups and the main user Gateway.


The interior design provides an inspirational atmosphere similar to that of a workshop or think tank. Exposed concrete surfaces and visible installations provide a setting that the users can adapt and customise to meet their individual needs. A contrast is made not only by the colourful furnishing of the LIKE ITs but also by the built-in furniture and meeting pods, which are arranged around the central access core as functional modules.

The open-plan office landscape on the upper floors is complemented by cellular office units, the so-called home bases. These allow for more concentrated work in small groups and are therefore considered the birthplace of new ideas

January 23rd, 2020
Happy Bauherr, happy Life…. #weLiKE-IT

… kleiner Snapshot aus unserem zweiten Nutzerworkshop vom IGZ!
Das Notizbuch ist von unserem Projektmanager, der in JEDER Besprechung mit Copics bewaffnet kleine Notizkunstwerke zaubert…völlig analog!
Schön, wenn alle einfach mal happy mit einem Ergebnis sind! #welikeittoo

posted by
Anika Schausten
October 29th, 2020

Innovations- und Gründungszentrums (IGZ) auf dem Campus der Universität zu Köln:

The five-storey think tank for researchers, inventors and founders offers flexible office work environments and various roof terraces as well as communicative areas, the so-called “LIKE IT’s” as places for exchange and innovative work … more

LIKE IT is an acronym of the words:

L ümmeln
I nspirieren
K ommunizieren
E rleben
I nformieren
T reffen

posted by
Lea-Christin Gabriel