Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
VIA University College in Aarhus, Denmark by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
February 6th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
The aim of the new campus is to help consolidate the activities at one of Denmark’s largest educational institutions. Covering approximately 27,000 square metres, the complex will bring together the many specialist disciplines under one roof and create links and cohesion across disciplines. The vision is to create a flexible, dynamic, cross-disciplinary study environment where students, lecturers and visitors can meet, knowledge can be shared, and ideas can come into being. A central plaza located in the midst of the four wings of the building will act as a meeting place for approximately 2,000 students who will be spending their days on campus in the future. Above the plaza, the building will open up towards the sky and draw the daylight in, while balconies and terraces will define the atrium beneath the expansive light from above.
The core functions of the complex including auditoriums, a multimedia centre, the canteen and other shared functions are accommodated around the plaza. Intimate meeting rooms for reflection, group workstations with extra elbow room as well as social meeting spots and lounge areas for socialising as an integral part of the new campus. On the outside as well as on the inside, the new campus has been given a simple but raw look and feel, which reflects the ambition for the building to be robust enough for real-life use.
The project’s design will minimise energy consumption. This will be achieved by the building’s orientation and its compact lay-out, as well as its implementation of low-energy light fittings, solar cells and heating. Thus the building will operate with an annual energy consumption of 75 kWh per square metre which is 20 percent below the level required by the Danish building regulations.
Incorporated within the design are several green roofs. Water is collected from the roofs which will be used for irrigation of the building’s green façade. All fixtures in the building will conserve water wherever possible, including toilets fitted with water-efficient flushing mechanisms.
The building will be naturally ventilated. When this is not possible, a mechanical system will be used in conjunction with Variable Air Volume (VAV) technology that uses efficient heat recovery measures. These systems will adapt the volume of air to both the number of people in the room and the preferred temperature of the space through heat and CO2 sensors. To ensure sufficient levels of fresh air, all windows, skylights and daylight slits will be provided with a mechanical opening system
Classrooms and offices will receive optimum amounts of daylight, creating pleasant working environments. Daylight will be brought to the central areas of the building via daylight slits wherever skylights cannot be fitted. This will help create a varied range of ambiences ideal for teaching, reflection and interaction, whilst also instilling a strong sense of campus community.
In spaces with good daylight conditions, artificial lighting will be controlled by censors, reducing the amount of energy used without compromising the space’s user friendliness or specific technical requirements.
A green belt of ivy will be incorporated in the façade. This provides solar protection for the structure and creates a pleasant microclimate around the building.
Soil & landscape
Throughout the campus, landscaping will be used to enrich people’s experience of visiting the university college. Pruned linden trees will create a deciduous leafy canopy which will be complemented by sensory and activity gardens with a varied range of fruit trees, flowers and fragrant plants. The parking areas will be paved with grass, accentuating the scheme’s rural ambience. The remaining unpaved areas will be laid out as flowery meadows.
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