A global benchmark for sustainability
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 university 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 our specialist engineering teams 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 facade engineering 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.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply