GPP Architects wins 1st prize with design for University College Northjutland
The project is situated at the former Eternit site, centrally located in Aalborg, Denmark. The site has a history as one of the city's main industrial sites, giving the building a special identity as a place where Industry and knowledge meet. UCN IMAGO is an educational centre, consisting of 4 buildings arranged around a common space. All 4 buildings are orientated towards this central space, each having a finger within the central space - or a wing of the ‘butterfly’. This central space is the building’s nucleus and professional meeting point, where there is a pulse and synergy between the various interdisciplinary professionals and students, helping create an environment which radiates life and promotes exchange of knowledge.
The central space is magnificent and unique. As the building's pivotal point, it allows great visual contact to each of the buildings 'wings', creating intimacy and cohesion in the education environment. The main level contains spaces for public and group functions and activities. The other levels include educational facilities, grouped in 4 large families as requested by the client - 3 wings for UCN's Technology & Business and 1 wing for continuing education - an education towards a new business career. There are many different rooms in which to relax and find peace; in the tall atrium, under and along the balconies, in the small meeting rooms allocated for group and individual work, on top of the auditorium and in all the small nooks and cranny located sporadically around the facility.
The curving overhangs and balconies in the central space create a living structure. These overhangs and balconies help protect the façade and act as sunscreens, allowing longer use of the classrooms before the sunscreens are required to shade the sun. The choice of materials is based on the Eternit site’s industrial past. Perforated steel plate and various types of coloured aluminium plates are used. The exterior face of the overhangs are clad with galvanised steel plates and the undersides are clad with different coloured aluminium plates. The building is designed as a low-energy building. From the start of the design process, there has been a focus on energy efficient solutions, so that the environmental impact and architecture go hand in hand. The intent is to use the sun's rays to their maximum potential, resulting in amazing daylight conditions as well as additional energy for the building.