We describe design and installation of a multi-mode microscopy core facility in an environment of varied research activity in life-sciences. The experimentators can select any combination of a) microscopes (upright, upright fixed-stage, inverted), b) microscopy modes (widefield, DIC, IRDIC, widefield epifluorescence, transmission LSM, reflection and fluorescence CLSM, MPLSM), c) imaging techniques (direct observation, video observation, photography, quantitative camera-recording, flying spot scanning), d) auxiliary systems (equipment for live specimen imaging, electrophysiology, time-coordinated laser-scanning and electrophysiology, patch-clamp). The equipment is installed on one large vibration-isolating optical table (3m X 1.5m X 0.3m). Electronics, auxiliary equipment, and a fiber-coupled, remotely controlled Ar+-Kr+ laser are mounted in a rack system fixed to the ceiling. The design of the shelves allows the head of the CSLM to be moved to any of the microscopes without increasing critical cable lengths. At the same time easy access to all the units is preserved. The beam of a Titanium-Sapphire laser, controlled by means of an EOM and a prism GVD, is coupled directly to the microscopes. Three mirrors mounted on a single precision translation table are integrated into the beam steering system so that the beam can easily be redirected to any of the microscopes. All the available instruments can be operated by the educated and trained user. The system is popular among researchers in neuroanatomy, embryology, cell biology, molecular biology - including the study of protein interactions, e.g. by means of FRET, and electrophysiology. Its colocalization with an EM facility promises to provide considerable synergy effects.