Alsion Campus, University of Southern Denmark
Integration of passive design solutions results in energy consumption 20-30% lower than local regulatory standards
Provided a new benchmark for sustainable university building design
Expertly designed facade reduces solar gain while maximising daylight
Our bespoke, high-pressure water mist system is an industry first solution for Denmark
The University of Southern Denmark’s (SDU) Alsion campus building, located in the Danish town of Sønderborg, is an exceptional example of how our international experience combined with our specialist knowledge of higher education developments has resulted in an extraordinary facility.
As well as a striking architectural statement in its own right, the university provides outstanding facilities for students while meeting stringent Danish energy targets. SDU wanted to set a new benchmark for sustainable higher education buildings, not just in Denmark, but across the globe.
Creating a new campus that beats local regulatory standards on energy consumption by 20–30% – in a country where these targets are 30% more demanding than UK regulations – made the task put before the BuroHappold Engineering team extremely challenging.
The architect’s vision was for an extremely open and transparent building that encouraged interaction between students and professors, with extensive use of glass walls and cantilevered areas. With such a large, open plan design featuring numerous atria spaces, ensuring safety in the event of a fire was another major task.
Our facades team designed the glass walls so that they remained visually stunning without affecting internal temperatures. The cleverly designed facade provides just enough shading to reduce solar gain, while maximising the amount of daylight entering the building. Our team also incorporated a number of other passive design measures, such as: extensive use of thermal mass, using river water for cooling and integrating photo-voltaic panels into the facade.
Our unrivaled knowledge of international standards meant that we were able to deliver a solution that was an industry first for fire safety in Denmark – a bespoke, high-pressure water mist system, capable of rapidly extinguishing a fire. An extensive programme of computer modelling and tests at the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology was undertaken to demonstrate how this exciting solution could work for the client, the architect and the authorities.
The light, airy feeling throughout the campus building creates a vibrant, stimulating environment for study, while contributing to the outstanding sustainability credentials. With the combination of innovation, sustainability expertise and effective communications, the Alsion campus is a university development unlike any other.
RIBA European Award 2007
Client: University of Southern Denmark
Project duration: 2002- 2007
Services provided by BuroHappold: Building services engineering (MEP), structural engineering, fire engineering, computational analysis, acoustic engineering
A vibrant and stimulating environment that facilitates and accelerates efficient study. Image: Adam Mørk
A truly open and transparent building that encourages interaction between students and professors. Image: Adam Mørk
The building is equipped with a bespoke, high-pressure water mist system, capable of rapidly extinguishing a fire. Image: Adam Mørk
More about Alsion Campus, University of Southern Denmark
When we integrate our engineering specialisms around a core theme (we call these Service Offers), the benefits to the client multiply.