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Daylight & Architecture

Ways into the light - Faculty building in Odense

An entire university under one roof. This was the idea that guided architects Krohn & Hartvig Rasmussen in the 1970s when they created the campus of the University of Southern Denmark on the outskirts of Odense. The new Technical Faculty building, designed by C.F. Møller at the edge of the campus 40 years later, is based on similar principles.

Measuring 110 × 65 metres – the size of a football pitch − the three-storey building accommodates three institutes under its roof. The challenge for the architects was to bring daylight into this enormous structure. They therefore divided the interior into four independent edifices that share the same roof but are separated from each other by a network of streets, pathways and squares. Student life takes place on these streets and on the large, copper clad open staircase in the middle of the building.

The bridges and galleries on the upper floors not only connect the different institutes to each other but also serve as important meeting points for informal chats. Here, 700 square metres of modular skylights resting on prefabricated concrete roof girders make for a light and lively atmosphere. On the remaining roof surfaces, 750 square metres of solar modules were installed.

The 3,000 students and 300 employees also profit from the natural light in the laboratories, offices and group workrooms of the individual buildings. Thanks to their large glass surfaces, the rooms offer a generous and clear view of the interior streets and the outside areas, i.e. the rest of the campus. On the upper floors, an ornamental feature consisting of white fibre-reinforced concrete elements, with 15,000 apertures of different sizes, encloses the entire building and offers protection against the sun. This not only provides shade but also frames a variety of different views of the university campus and the forested area neighbouring the faculty on its east and south sides.

Bygningsstyrelsen, Valby, DK Technical Faculty of SDU, Odense, DK Architects: C.F. Møller, Copenhagen/Aarhus, DK Location: Campusvej 55, Odense, DK



Daylight has great impact on our health and happiness. It enriches our everyday lives with sensual pleasure. In fact daylight matters to all of us. The current issue of Daylight/Architecture discusses the vital importance of natural light from a variety of viewpoints.

In his essay, Juhani Pallasmaa describes how daylight interacts with our senses, and how great architects have harnessed this interplay to create memorable spaces, where light almost becomes a material of its own. Read more(link til atiklen) The impact of daylight on our health and wellbeing is discussed by Deborah Burnett in her article. She gives an update on recent research, that has found more pathways through which light exposure influences our sleep/wake cycles, hormone production, performance and alertness levels. Peter Holzer argues in his article, that designers should take the long-term health effects of buildings into account. This would imply allowing much more daylight in buildings. Read more (link til artikel).

The magazine features four buildings as examples of the interplay of light, human health and wellbeing. Photographers Adam Mørk and Daniel Blaufuks seek to capture the magic that natural light gives to the building’s atmospheres and does to the bodies and minds of people living, working and learning in buildings.

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