UNStudio has completed a new teaching building among the faculty at TU Delft in Delft in the Netherlands.
The 8,844 square meter building, named Echo, is described as the “most sustainable building” on the TU Delft campus
with a circular design approach by providing a high degree of flexibility.
Designed as a power generation interface, the fully glazed building provides
a variety of classrooms to meet the diversity of teaching and study methods at the university.
Echo aims to contribute to the university’s ambitions to operate a fully sustainable campus by 2030,
and the Echo Building teaches by example.
In this highly compact building, the use of space is maximized, while bringing students from various disciplines in close contact.
Completed in collaboration with structural engineering firm Arup and construction cost consultancy BBN,
the design has been adapted to different learning styles and teaching methods
with an energy-generating building where adaptability and user well-being are paramount.
Flexible educational buildings
And unlike a traditional campus that operates in silos, the future campus
needs to be programmed with agile spaces that invite students and faculty to learn, collaborate, and co-create.
As student numbers continue to grow, educational buildings must be highly flexible,
working through a faculty-based cross-use model that can foster a more general education.
With the building having 1,200 solar panels, smart fixtures, good insulation, and a heat and cold storage system,
the building will be able to provide more energy than it needs for its daily operations.
This includes user related energy, such as electricity consumption for laptops,
lighting and restaurants, and 90% of the furniture used in the building has been reused.
UNStudio has taken the concept of transparency at the heart of Echo’s design.
Through transparency, not only ensures maximum daylight inside the building (known to have health benefits for users,
but also reduces the need for artificial lighting), the building also creates a visual connection to the wider campus and surrounding nature. .
Closed corporate experience
The office avoided designing a “closed institutional experience” for users,
while the open and public character of the building connects the two sides of the campus and provides a bright,
upscale and welcoming environment for faculty and students alike.
To avoid heat gain, sunlight penetration is prevented by a combination of sun protection and a low SPF of the glass in the facade.
In the facade, the studio added deep, horizontal aluminum canopies that prevent excess solar heat.
These canopies are connected to each other by means of cables along which climbing plants form a thin green facade that filters the daylight.
To ensure fresh air in the building, a finished floor has been installed over the hollow panels,
here fresh air is pumped from the floor, rather than down from the top, thus avoiding circulating around the room.
The vents for this system can easily be moved, along with the computer floor installation,
if room layouts change in the future.
Not only has a great deal of attention been paid to the environmental impact of the materials used in construction,
but the building has been designed as closely as possible according to the principles of roundness.
For example, the studio used large portal constructions with large grid sizes so that columns could extend along the edge of the building,
this also creating column-free spaces with large spacings.
Steel trusses have standard sizes and can be dismantled
so that they can be reused elsewhere after the life of the building, hollow panels can also be reused in the future.
Echo supports contemporary culture for everything anywhere
As emphasized by the studio, the educational building, which provides multifunctional spaces, transcends existing learning environments.
The design supports the contemporary culture of ‘everything anywhere’,
where spaces are also of great importance and physical movement is stimulated.
Echo also provides a space for unstructured time: a variety of platforms to think, inspire and connect.
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