Under-construction college campus offers lessons in sustainability

2020 is shaping up to be a busy year for UNStudio. Having received the thumbs-up for Australia’s tallest skyscraper and unveiled a greenery-filled island proposal for South Korea, the firm has now announced that construction is underway on its new college campus in the Netherlands. Once completed, students will be hitting the books in a flexible and energy-efficient space that integrates greenery on its facade.

Echo is being created for the Netherlands’ TU Delft, in collaboration with Arup and BBN. It will measure 8,844 sq m (roughly 95,000 sq ft) and will feature an open and light-filled interior.

“The interior offers a warm welcome to visitors,” says UNStudio. “Two auditoria define the space in a lively open square where numerous and varied activities can take place. These auditoria are open where they need to communicate and closed where clear boundaries are required. At specific positions, bamboo ribs extend along the ceiling, forming an integral part of the design.”

Echo’s layout is also designed with flexibility and future-proofing in mind. It will include multipurpose spaces and its largest lecture room, which will host up to 700 students, will divide into three separate rooms when required. Additionally, over 300 study spaces will be installed and there will be seven main teaching rooms in total, most of which will have a flexible layout. In all there will be space for up to 1,700 students.

Echo's interior design will be enlivened by bamboo detailing
Echo’s interior design will be enlivened by bamboo detailing


The exterior will sport generous glazing, which will be shaded by aluminum awnings to stop the interior from being unduly warmed by the Sun. Greenery will also grow along integrated cabling to partially cover the glazing.

Solar panels will provide electricity (reducing the building’s draw on the grid) and daylight will be maximized with roof lights. Ventilation systems will be extensive and geothermal heating and cooling will also be employed to help maintain a comfortable interior temperature. Finally, the building’s structural system will be demountable, meaning that the whole thing can be taken down and removed if required – certainly not easily, but with less effort than a typical brick-and-mortar college building.

Echo has already begun construction and is is due for completion in late 2021.

Source: UNStudio

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