Danish architectural practice C.F. Møller has just completed the new Technical Faculty of the University of Southern Denmark in Odense. It will be a shared research and education environment for four different institutes.
Designed as one big envelope consisting of five houses connected by bridges at multiple levels crossing the heart of each house, the building contains common functions and meeting rooms as well as 6,000 square metres of laboratories, out of 20,000 square metres of total floor space. In addition, the building has many connections that allow for boundaries that are more fluid, more community and knowledge sharing, according to the architects.
The new Technical Faculty reinterprets the use and appearance of the existing campus’s steel cladding, designed in the 1970s by architects Krohn & Hartvig Rasmussen. The existing campus is characterised by its linear layout and “brutalist” use of fair-faced concrete, while the new faculty adopts the materiality and site layout of the existing one.
The building is shrouded in an external screen that reveals and shades the transparent volume. The seemingly weightless screen is made from pre-fab panels of white compact reinforced composite, which is a special type of fibre-reinforced high-performance concrete with high strength, and features circular openings with an underlying solar screen and natural ventilation.
Seven different types of concrete panels are used to form the facade screen, and the different diameters and layouts of the panels’ perforation patterns have been optimised to act as a solar screen and glare protection. This feature reduces direct sunlight by up to 50 %, but still allows unhindered views from all interior spaces to the green surroundings.
The combination of solid cores and a sliding wall system for adaptable sub-divisions, gives the interior layout great flexibility. The larger laboratories are located on the ground floor, to give easy access from outside and opportunities for outdoor activities.
The Technical Faculty conducts world-class research, and as a result, the building will house several pieces of spectacular equipment, such as one of Denmark’s largest distillation plants, vibration-free and climate-controlled laser optics and a special ultra-high-strength concrete slab for testing structural loads.
C.F. Møller designed the new building in collaboration with Schønherr Landscape, a Danish landscape architect firm, and engineers MOE. The official inauguration will be at the start of the academic term in September.