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Norway Campus Features Seawater-Durable Panels

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

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In a recently finished project, Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta consolidated six previously separate academic buildings for the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design (KMD), University of Bergen, into one multi-use cross-disciplinary building that intersects both public and private spaces and features seawater-durable aluminum panels.

Located in Bergen, Norway, the structure acts as a bridge to connect the university with the town in which in resides.

KMD Building

The 14,800-square-meter (roughly 160,000-square-foot) KMD facility is organized along two axes, noted Snøhetta on its website: one internal, dedicated to students and staff, and one external, open to the public. These axes intersect in the project hall, which is a multi-use, semi-climatic space running through the entire structure.

Paired with the building’s entrance opening onto a large outdoor public plaza, the KMD opens a structural dialog with Bergen’s city center. From there, the exterior space also includes a cafe terrace as a natural meeting point, underneath which a tank that is capable of capturing up to 90 liters per second stocks excess water from the roof. This water is led into an infiltration pool located in the plaza.

The KMD facility also houses 410 rooms around the project hall, including auditoriums, offices and workshops of various sizes. Surrounding the project hall proper, however, are 32 workshop spaces that double as display areas. Each is equipped with specialized infrastructure and heavy machinery for woodwork, ceramics, metalwork and plaster, among other endeavors.

As for structural materials, Snøhetta took inspiration from Norway’s coastline—pine wood block flooring, birch veneer, raw aluminum, crude steel and concrete. The interior palette is composed of painted gypsum fiberboards, with many of the floors covered in vinyl. The floor of the first level is covered by slab and porous concrete, with the second floor of the project hall equipped with pine wood block flooring.

According to The Architects Newspaper, the building envelope consists of over 900 pre-fabricated seawater-durable raw aluminum panels, which are of a custom patterning developed by Snøhetta and made by local manufacturer Metha, which add a dynamic component to the building’s exterior, with the windows positioned in such a way to also contribute to the aesthetic. The aluminum-folded rainscreen cladding panels are also offset roughly four, six and eight inches from the insulation line.

“The rainy and sometimes stormy coastal climate demands all exterior materials to not only withstand harsh conditions but to weather in a way that highlights their unique qualities over time,” the firm said on its website. “The crude aluminum surfaces will gradually age and naturally oxidize, heightening the variations in colors and textures.”

To top it all off, the glass roof allows for the distribution of natural daylight into the building.

The structure was completed in October 2017, and is currently undergoing its first academic year.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Colleges and Universities; Color + Design; Design; Design build

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