The Technical Faculty is part of the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) in Odense, and constitutes a shared research and education environment for four different institutes. The building is designed as one big envelope consisting of 5 buildings connected by bridges at multiple levels crossing the heart of the complex, a "piece of furniture" containing common functions and meeting-rooms, and giving access to a roof garden/café/lounge area. The many connections allow for more fluid boundaries, and more community and knowledge sharing.
The unusual appearance is a result of both adaption and distinctiveness in relation to the existing campus, which is a unique 1970s structuralist design by architects Krohn & Hartvig Rasmussen characterized by its linear layout and brutalist use of fair-faced concrete and weathered cor-ten steel cladding. The new Technical Faculty building adopts the same materiality and site layout, but reinterprets their use and appearance to clearly set the building apart from the historic campus architecture.
The building is designed as a glass house with an external screen or veil revealing and shading the glazing. The elegant and seemingly weightless screen is made from pre-fab panels of white CRC concrete (Compact Reinforced Composite, a special type of Fibre Reinforced High Performance Concrete with high strength) featuring circular openings with an underlying solar screen and natural ventilation.
The eye-catching screen reflects the innovation and creativity that characterises the various institutes which it unites, including institutes for diverse research on the subject of construction technology and industrialization. Here, the fiber-reinforced concrete architecturally demonstrates the possibilities of new materials.
The Technical Faculty at SDU is to meet the requirements for low energy class 2015 according to the strict Danish building codes. This means minimal energy consumption, good indoor climate and use of materials with a low environmental impact in a life cycle perspective.
The composition of the façade screen is created from only seven different types of concrete panels, and the different diameters and layouts of the panels’ perforation patterns have been optimized to act as a solar screen and glare protection, reducing direct sunlight by up to 50 percent, while still allowing unobstructed views from all interior spaces to the green surroundings.
The four institutes sharing the building are conducting world-class research in various fields such as material and construction science, nano-optics, environmental sciences and robotics. As a result, the building will house several spectacular pieces of equipment such a one of Denmark’s largest distillation plants, vibration-free and climate-controlled laser optics labs and a special ultra-high strength concrete slab for testing structural loads.
The interior layout creates great flexibility, by a combination of solid cores and sliding wall system for adaptable sub-divisions depending on group sizes. The larger labs are located on the ground floor, for easy access to the terrain and opportunity for outdoor activities.