The six departments of the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology are divided between two adjacent buildings connected by a skywalk. The main building was completed in 2005 and houses the departments of Protein Evolution, Biochemistry, Genetics and Cell Biology as well as ten junior research groups. The departments of Evolutionary Biology and Molecular Biology as well as the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory are located in the second, older building, which dates from 1970 and was totally renovated in a 5-year project completed in 2006.
The main building was designed by Munich-based architects Fritsch & Tschaidse, winners of an architectural competition for a design concept. After three years of planning and two years of construction the building was handed over to the scientists in 2005.
Laboratories and offices are laid out on opposite long sides of the building over five floors. The working areas are connected by a central hall, which opens over all floors of the building and is illuminated by natural light from a glass roof. The glass facade on the south side allows open views towards the hills of the Swabian Alb.
A greenhouse for propagation of plants and guppies, as well as a zebra fish facility, add to the institute buildings. A total of 3300m² of modern lab space and 930m² of office space create a working environment for more than 200 scientists and about 350 people overall.