Architecture - Education
20.900 m2
Szczecin, PL
West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin
Geoffrey Eberle, Magdalena Mróz, Bartosz Dendura, Gabriella Mackenzie, Clara Costa, Martyna Mądry, Katarzyna Obara, Lukas Patrick Olma, Sylwia Chudzik

The new building of the Faculty of Informatics of the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin is more than just a university building where students and staff attend classes and work. It is an immersive experience that allows all users to fully engage in a sustainable and socially active community. Designed with education and community building in mind, the campus is a unique and innovative building that offers a comfortable and inviting environment for all who cross its threshold.

The university campus of the Faculty of Informatics has been designed based on a modular timber structure. The layout of the building is the result of a thorough and careful analysis of the functional needs of the faculty and its proposed organisational structure. The building was designed to connect seamlessly with the existing parts, improving circulation and offering new social spaces for all parts of the building. The different segments of the building are connected by covered walkways, providing protection from the weather and creating a seamless transition from one building to another. The extension, in conjunction with the existing building, creates a courtyard around the preserved trees, providing a peaceful and serene environment for students to enjoy. At the heart of the courtyard is an oasis, an unusual outdoor space that has been designed to provide a peaceful refuge from the hustle and bustle of the non-academic world.

One of the main objectives of the new design was to increase the efficiency of the old building by connecting it to the new part and enabling shared social spaces. The two atriums act as spaces for informal study, meetings and community building. The building's modular design allows for maximum customisation and design possibilities while reducing costs, and prefabrication allows for a significant acceleration of the entire construction process. Ultimately, these solutions will reduce the impact of the construction process on the operation of the university. The flexibility of the design also means that the building can be easily adapted to changing needs and requirements. The atria have been strategically placed, creating access to the faculty from all sides. They provide a form of openings that allow people to flow freely. This allows students and staff to move easily between different areas of the campus, enhancing the overall sense of community and facilitating engagement with different parts of the institution.

A number of social spaces have been designed on the ground floor of the building, including a café and student lounge. The social spaces have been placed around the entrances, creating a welcoming atmosphere and encouraging students to spend time on campus. It is intended to be a place where students will come to spend their free time, even if they do not have classes at the moment. The café is a popular place for students to grab a coffee or a bite to eat, while the student lounge provides a space to relax, socialise, brainstorm or share experiences. The upper floors of the building have been dedicated to teaching facilities. The studios and lecture theatres have been carefully designed to provide students with a comfortable and inviting learning environment. The design of the studios and lecture theatres encourages collaboration and interaction between students, helping to foster a sense of community and engagement. This is also served by the pragmatic layout of the building, which minimises the need to move around and maximises the use of social spaces.

The university's modular timber-framed campus is a pioneering example of sustainable architecture that uses a wide range of green solutions to minimise its carbon footprint. The use of wood as the primary building material is a distinctive feature of this campus as it absorbs carbon, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The modular design allows the layout of the campus to be optimised while reducing construction costs, and the use of prefabricated elements means that the building can be assembled quickly and efficiently.

Another notable feature of the campus is the perforated façade panels, which allow for the integration of the natural environment with the indoor environment, allowing for user-controlled shading while maximising the use of natural light. By minimising the need for artificial lighting, the panels reduce energy consumption, contributing to the overall sustainability of the campus. Perforated façade panels also have a beneficial effect on the internal environment, as they help to maintain comfortable levels of natural light while controlling glare and temperature fluctuations.

The campus courtyard is another important element, designed to create a beautiful and relaxing space for students and staff. The design of the courtyard is not just aesthetic, however, as it also serves to naturally cool the environment during the summer months. The retention pool, which provides a focal point, cools the air around it and provides a natural habitat for wildlife, adding to the ecological value of the campus. In summer, the retention pool collects rainwater, which is then used to cool the building, reducing the the need for air conditioning and minimises energy consumption. The combination of natural cooling with the campus's innovative ventilation system creates an optimal environment for learning that is both comfortable and sustainable.

Solar panels located on the roof of the campus generate renewable energy, which is used to power the building. By reducing reliance on fossil fuels, solar panels contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the the overall sustainability of the campus.

The compact development area of the campus has been designed to minimise intrusion into the site, preserving the surrounding trees and ecological zones. The campus design also incorporates ecological zones, preserving biodiversity and creating a sustainable working and learning environment for students and staff. Two atriums, which are located at the heart of the campus, act as social spaces for students and staff, offering spaces for informal studying, meeting and creating a community. The building's modular design allows for maximum customisation and arrangement possibilities while reducing costs and speeding up the process of construction.